Two Law Profs Settle Whistle-Blower Suit Against Ave Maria
Two law professors have settled a lawsuit that claims they were denied tenure at Ave Maria School of Law in retaliation for their complaints.
Lawyer Deborah Gordon told NaplesNews.com that law professors Ed Lyons and Phil Pucillo “have agreed to a settlement, which does involve their obtaining tenure in part,” although the lawyers won’t continue to work for the school.
The professors had sued Ave Maria and its leaders in October, claiming they were disciplined for opposing the school’s move from Michigan to Florida and for reporting or preparing to report suspected violations of laws and regulations. The complaint alleged the violations involved “the independence of the corporate form,” breach of fiduciary duty and conflicts of interest.
Ave Maria had maintained the professors didn’t want to see the school relocate and had magnified academic freedom and governance issues. In court papers, the school maintained the professors were ministerial employees, making the Catholic institution exempt from their legal claims.
A third plaintiff, Steve Safranek, continues to press his suit against the school, according to the story at NaplesNews.com. A tenured law professor, Safranek was fired two years ago.