Daily Briefs

U.S. Court of Appeals finds in favor of Cooley Law School

In a decision released Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that the dismissal of former law professor Lynn Branham from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School faculty was proper.  Affirming a decision in Cooley’s favor by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan in Grand Rapids in 2010, the federal appellate court sitting in Cincinnati found that “Cooley’s termination process complies with Michigan and federal law, and Cooley followed the prescribed process.”  

 Branham, then a tenured professor, refused to teach what the district court termed “a normal and contractually permitted set of courses”assigned to her, insisting that she would teach only Criminal Law or Criminal Procedure. Cooley dismissed her after she refused to teach Constitutional Law, a course she had already agreed to teach.

Following a hearing in September 2009, the district court had ordered Cooley to provide Branham with a tenure proceeding in which the school’s faculty and board of directors would be asked to concur in Branham’s 2006 removal from the faculty by the school’s president and dean. Cooley’s faculty then voted by a margin of more than 4 to 1 to affirm that removal, and Cooley’s board of directors unanimously approved the faculty’s action. Before the September 2009 hearing, the court had previously rejected claims by Branham that she suffered from a disability, that Cooley violated her rights under the federal Americans With Disabilities Act and a similar Michigan statute, and that Cooley intentionally inflicted emotional distress.

When Branham later questioned the validity of the tenure process and instead sought a jury trial for damages, the Sixth Circuit rejected her contentions, saying, “Because we conclude that the process by which she was removed was lawful, the decision to dismiss Branham is final and binding.”

Chambers USA honors Detroit attorney Maurice G. Jenkins

Maurice G. Jenkins is one of 58 attorneys from the firm of Jackson and Lewis recognized in the 2012 edition of “Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.”

The prestigious annual legal guide ranks the top firms and lawyers across the country in a variety of practice areas, including Labor & Employment.

Jenkins is the managing partner of the Detroit office and has practiced labor and employment law for more than 29 years. He has litigated labor and employment cases in various states, and has extensive experience in preventive counseling to management with respect to legal compliance, labor issues arising from corporate reorganizations, and wrongful discharge and discrimination issues.