Labor & Employment Law

Drew U Sued, Accused of Purloining Poetry Program & Students

A federal judge in New Hampshire has given the green light to a lawsuit accusing New Jersey’s Drew University of stealing a competing college’s graduate-level poetry program and many of its students.

Poet Anne Marie Macari created the Drew program while serving for less than a year as interim director of a “low residency” New England College program in New Hampshire that awarded a master’s of fine arts degree in poetry, the college’s lawsuit contends, accusing her of breaching her contract and duty of loyalty. It says all eight of the faculty members at the Drew program formerly taught at the college, reports the Star-Ledger.

Drew must defend the case in New Hampshire, U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Laplante has ruled, denying the university’s alternative motions to dismiss or at least move the case to New Jersey. Because Macari allegedly acted on Drew’s behalf in New Hampshire and the university knew she was working there, Laplante held that the litigation against Drew can be pursued there, the New Jersey newspaper explains.

The suit seeks more than $100,000 in compensatory damages for lost tuition and the salary the college paid Macari while she they say she played a dual role, as well as injunctive relief preventing Macari from running a competing poetry program at Drew for two years, according to a 2008 article in the Concord Monitor.

“The employer is paying for something,” Peter Callaghan, a New Hampshire employment lawyer, tells the New Hampshire newspaper. “If the employee is not honoring her commitments and is working to bring assets and resources to a competitor, the employer is not getting what it paid for. And the courts will enforce a remedy there.”

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