Lacrosse Player Sues Duke, Prof Over ‘F’
Fresh on the heels of Duke’s offer of reinstatement to former lacrosse players Reade Seligmann and Collin Finnerty comes additional legal action involving a team member: Kyle Dowd has filed suit against a Duke professor and the university, accusing visiting professor Kim Curtis of giving him a failing grade in a course:
Kyle Dowd filed the lawsuit Thursday against against Duke University and visiting associate [sic] professor Kim Curtis. Dowd, who graduated with David Evans in May 2006, was not indicted in the rape case but says that Professor Curtis gave him and another lacrosse player in class a failing grade in class as a form of retaliation after the Duke Lacrosse scandal broke. The two players were apparently receiving passing grades until the scandal, and Duke University revised their grades upward months after graduation.
This does not affect the pending sexual offense and kidnapping case against David Evans, Reade Seligmann, and Collin Finnerty. But it is significant in being the first of likely to be many legal and moral hits against Duke University – critics say that Duke failed to stand by its own students as they came under attack by members of the faculty and community. …
Duke is being sued for breach of contract and unjust enrichment. Curtis and Duke are being sued for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence, and punitive damages. For all but one of those claims the lawsuit states that the plaintiffs were damaged in excess of $10,000.
Professor Curtis was among the “Group of 88” professors who published an advertisement in the Duke Chronicle calling the rape scandal a “social disaster.” The Group of 88, perceived by critics as attacking the Lacrosse team, at one point thanked protesters who posted “wanted” fliers containing photos of all or nearly all of the Lacrosse players.
Margaret Soltan correctly headlines this story as the first of what are likely to be many lawsuits going after the deep pockets at Duke.
Disclaimer: During the 2005-06 academic year, I was a visiting assistant professor of political science at Duke, and thus a colleague of Curtis’.