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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Analysis of AMSL Complaint and Answer

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. I was able to read over the Answer in the Safranek v. Monaghan case and before I get bogged down with work and billable hours, I wanted to give some of my observations:

1. Parag. 55: Defendants allege that Safranek, Lyons, and Pucillo acted to "prevent a relocation, including, if necessary, destruction of the Law School." Sounds a lot like Monaghan's delusions about Ave Maria College professors (who just wanted to retain a Michigan program) as being "academic terrorists."

2. Parag. 59: Interesting claim by Defendants that there wasn't a faculty vote because it didn't happen at a faculty meeting. Is a meeting between faculty only a "faculty meeting" if the Dean declares it to be a "faculty meeting"?

3. Parags. 63-65: Interesting allegation by Plaintiffs that I had not heard before: that Bork was hired by the school as an independent contractor through the Bork Law Firm, PC, and that Bork did not have a normal full-time tenured faculty status.

4. Parags. 67-68: Defendants admit that the Chaplain and a member of IT at AMSL spoke with a certain priest, though they deny that they had anything to do with any alleged altering of a hard drive. I wonder what the conversation was about.

5. Parags. 72-73: We finally get some kind of reason from the Administration for Safranek's firing. Defendants accuse Safranek of an "unrelenting effort" "to injure and harass AMSL and its leadership and staff." Starting on Aug. 31, 2006, Dobranski sent Safranek a "letter of censure and reprimand for misconduct." Subsequent "letters of discipline" described other "acts of misconduct". What could these acts injuring and harassing AMSL staff be? Surely not the infamous "good morning" charges!

6. Parag. 80: Defendants do not contest the fact that Lyons and Pucillo got unusually small salary increases (apparently smaller increases than other professors). Defendants allege, however, that these unusually small salary increases were "based on Dobranski's judgment and assessment as to the value of their performance during the previous year." Of course, I find the allegation that Lyons and Pucillo were sub-par professors to be completely absurd. And I think anyone who took a class with them would have to agree.

7. Parags. 81-83: Defendants admit that Lyons and Pucillo were denied tenure "based on their failure to meet their burden of establishing that they had met the requirements for tenure" and that Dobranski went against the recommendation of the faculty committee in favor of granting tenure to Lyons and Pucillo. Unfortunately, there is no description as to how Lyons and Pucillo failed to meet their burden (in contrast with Sonne and Adolphe.) Any Monaghan supporters care to speculate on the reasons?

8. Parag. 87: A weird timeline. Lyons and Pucillo get notice of the tenure decision on Aug. 8. The complaint alleges that Dobranski told Lyons and Pucillo that there were no procedures for appealing tenure denial, even though the Faculty Handbook provides for this. In the answer, Dobranski admits that "the Law School did not have procedures in place for denial of tenure situations". The lawsuit was filed on Oct. 17. In the answer, Dobranski claims that procedures to deal with Lyons and Pucillo were approved by Board of Governors on Oct. 15 before the lawsuit was filed, and that Lyons and Pucillo were notified about procedures on Oct. 22. To me, the Oct. 15 BOG meeting occuring before the lawsuit was filed on Oct. 17 seems to me to be a little too convenient. I mean, Lyons and Pucillo got their tenure decision on August 8, and Dobranski then tells them that there are no procedures for appealing tenure and more than 2 months pass before the BOG meeting on Oct. 15 that approved procedures. I guess depositions should reveal whether an official, fully-attended BOG meeting really happened on that date.