New Cases and Developments

NACUA's Legal Resources staff summarizes current higher education cases and developments and provides the full text of selected cases to members. New cases and developments are archived here for up to 12 months.  Cases provided by Fastcase, Inc.

Selected Topics: Ethics Conflicts of Interest
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Conflicts of Interest; Ethics; Faculty & Staff

Pratt v. University of Cincinnati (Ohio App. June 5, 2018)

Decision affirming summary judgment for the Defendant. Plaintiff, the Chair of the Piano Department at the University of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music (UCCM) who participated in a search committee to replace two faculty members, alleged that the dean defamed him by stating in an email to all faculty members that Plaintiff “should not have been on the search committee [for a faculty hire], or at the very least… should have recused [himself] in the voting [due to a conflict of interest].” The court found no error in granting Defendant summary judgment because qualified privilege protected the contents of the UCCM dean’s email, and Plaintiff failed to meet his burden of showing that the dean acted with actual malice. Specifically, the court found “no evidence that [the UCCM dean] knowingly mischaracterized [Plaintiff’s] actions or his honest judgment of those actions when he discussed the conflict among the piano department faculty members.”