Bar Exam

Suit Claims 'Screaming Attacks’ by Nev. Bar Official Led to Grading Errors on 2010 Bar Exam

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A lawsuit filed by three former employees of the State Bar of Nevada claims the group’s executive director “launched screaming attacks” on the bar’s admissions director that led to her resignation and mistakes in the grading of the February 2010 bar exam.

According to the suit, the grading errors apparently caused people who had flunked the exam to be admitted to the bar, the Las Vegas Sun reports.

The former admissions director, Patrice Eichman, was one of three former employees who sued over an alleged “reign of terror” by the bar’s executive director Kimberly Farmer, the story says. The complaint alleges Farmer subjected the employees to “verbal and mental abuse, physical coercion and intimidation in a deranged effort to divert attention from her own incompetence.”

Eichman had always corrected grading errors by staff on every exam she oversaw in her 13 years, the suit says. She was forced to resign during the grading of February 2010 bar exams, which had some unusual results. The passage rate was believed to be the lowest in the state’s history, the suit says, yet several people who had repeatedly failed past exams received passing grades. “A reasonable person viewing the results of the February bar exam would be immediately concerned about the unlikely results,” the suit says.

Eichman “is informed and believes that errors were made during the grading of the February 2010 bar exam which caused persons who had not actually passed the exam to be admitted to the bar,” according to the suit (PDF posted by the Sun).

The other plaintiffs are Tiffany Breinig and Georgia Taylor. Eichman and Breinig are lawyers. The Sun article lists the causes of action: breach of employment contracts, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, negligent hiring and supervision of Farmer, tortious discharge, tortious discharge in violation of public policy, assault, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The bar responded with a statement that says the Board of Governors is confident of a positive outcome to the suit. “The Board of Governors believes that the allegations in the complaint essentially amount to griping by former employees who could not, or would not, adapt to changing work requirements,” the statement says.

Updated at 9:25 a.m. to include additional information from the lawsuit.

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