Wednesday, September 05, 2007

CU asks for dismissal of Churchill suit

The Post:
The University of Colorado filed motions Tuesday asking a Denver district judge to dismiss former CU professor Ward Churchill's lawsuit against the school.

Churchill, who taught ethnic studies, filed a complaint in July, charging that the regents and the school violated his First Amendment rights to free speech and denied him due process in his termination.

School officials responded Tuesday, saying the regents have immunity from a lawsuit over their decision to fire Churchill and that school officials have a right to investigate whether a faculty member violated his duties.

"The governing legal framework specifically requires the employer to undertake a reasonable investigation," the motion says.

Churchill's attorney, David Lane, said he hasn't seen the motions but doesn't believe they will get the case dismissed.

"I don't believe they are a correct statement of the law," he said.

CU attorney Patrick O'Rourke said he believes the university has a strong argument to get the lawsuit dismissed.

"I wouldn't file the motions if I didn't think they had a good chance of success," he said. . . .

The school initially contemplated moving the lawsuit into federal court but decided to fight Churchill's lawsuit in Denver District Court.

"We're in a better position in state court," O'Rourke said.

Lane has at least 15 business days to respond to the lengthy motions, although he could ask for more time.

Judge Larry Naves will decide whether the case will proceed.

There is no time limit for how long Naves can take to decide on the dismissal motions.
Update: Forgot to say, via the fascinating Personal Injury Lawyer News.

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