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Nova Law Prof, Fired After Gun Talk, Fights to Regain His Job

Posted Jun 27, 2012 8:08 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A former law professor claims in a lawsuit that school officials improperly fired him because of misguided perceptions that he was "mentally deranged enough to engage in a campus shooting rampage."

The National Law Journal covers the case of Anthony Chase, a former tenured professor at Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center in Florida. The suit claims the school violated the Americans with Disabilities Act by firing Chase based on its perception of a mental disability. The complaint also claims the school breached Chase’s contract for employment under the tenure system.

The school says its actions were taken for legitimate, nondiscriminatory reasons.

Nova Southeastern fired Chase in December 2010 after colleagues reported he had made statements about guns and shooting. The letter firing Chase cited an email he had sent to another law professor complaining about treatment by facilities maintenance staffers, the National Law Journal says. The email referred to his acquisition of “a large Beretta hand gun” and a scheduled “how to shoot” course.

Chase’s lawyer, William Amlong of Fort Lauderdale, tells the NLJ that the school misconstrued the messages. One of them, for example, was a joke referring to a seminar Chase had attended on the Beltway Sniper. Chase never actually owned a gun, the suit says.

Amlong says Chase likely angered school officials by criticizing the university’s handling of a dispute involving unionization of janitors.

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