Labor & Employment

Fed'l Judge Cites 'Insubordination,' Says Cooley Had Right to Fire Tenured Law Prof

A law school had a right to fire a tenured faculty member for “insubordination,” a federal judge has ruled, in a decision that the plaintiff’s lawyer contends should send shock waves through the nation’s law professor ranks.

Lynn Branham had argued that she was improperly fired, without a hearing, after the Thomas M. Cooley Law School initially piled on additional teaching duties in retaliation for her opposition to its hiring of the husband of a board member, Jane Markey, who is also a state appeals court judge, reports the National Law Journal.

Branham, a University of Chicago Law School graduate, is now a visiting criminal law professor at St. Louis University School of Law.

“Many of the conflicts in this case appear to stem from her extreme and contractually erroneous view of the rights her contractual tenure guarantees,” Judge Robert Jonker wrote in his Sept. 7 opinion in the Western District of Michigan case.

Additional coverage:

Adjunct Law Prof Blog (July 2007): “Former Associate Dean and Law Professor Sues Nation’s Largest Law School”

Tax Prof Blog (Sept. 2009): “Federal Court Orders School to Give Tenure Hearing to Fired Law Prof”

Michigan Lawyer: “U.S. District Court Finds in Favor of Cooley Law School”

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