Williams files a Motion to Dismiss against former Professor Bernard Moore: 23-1, 23-2, 23-3, 23-4, 23-5, 23-6 and 23-7. EphBlog’s lawyer source writes:

The College’s Motion to Dismiss. . . . FYI, the Federal MTD standard is low, which is why most MTDs are denied or, at a minimum, the plaintiff is granted leave to amend the complaint. Moore need only allege plausible facts to support his claims. At the MTD stage, the court accepts all pled facts as true. So long as they could support the elements of his claims, the MTD will be denied. Essentially, all the Court asks at this point is: “Has Moore pled plausible facts to support the causes of action?” The likely merit of those COAs is not entertained at this stage. Wikipedia “ashcroft v. iqbal” if you’re interested in the MTD standard.

Any comments from other lawyers? Highlights:

The plaintiff Bernard Moore soon will begin serving a lengthy prison sentence as a result of his admitted criminal activity. For almost twenty-five years, Moore has pursued an unlawful scheme of fraud and deceit through which he amassed more than $700,000 in ill-gotten funds from the federal government and numerous private parties through student loan fraud, credit card fraud, and social security benefits fraud.

Not as punchy an opening as the last filing, but not bad.

In Count III, Moore claims that the College violated Massachusetts G.L. c. 186, § 14 when it evicted him from College housing upon his termination. That count fails to state a claim because Moore was not a “tenant” of the College but merely was a “licensee;” the College provided Moore with access to College housing only as a condition of his employment, and therefore his eligibility to occupy that housing terminated at the same time as his employment.

Interesting. Can our Massachusetts attorney’s explain how the College avoids treating the folks who live in its buildings as tenants?

On November 12, the College’s Interim President, William Wagner, sent Moore a letter stating that the College had adequate cause to terminate Moore’s employment in light of his guilty plea and his failure to inform the College of that plea, among other factors. Id. at p. 4. The College offered Moore an opportunity to provide any reason, if he had one, why he should not be terminated for cause, but Moore did not offer any; instead, he responded to President Wagner with a letter that did not refute or otherwise address in any way the grounds for termination. Id. at p. 5. Accordingly, the College terminated Moore’s employment effective as of November 16.

Given that Moore is heading off to federal prison, I am not sure how much any of this matters. But it sure seems like Moore might have a point. The College has an extensive and detailed procedure for firing people in the middle of their contracts. Why didn’t Williams follow the Faculty Handbook? I suspect that Moore believes that he did offer a reason, that his letter did “address” the issue.

Lesson for current faculty (besides the obvious of “Don’t steal!”): If Williams wants you gone badly enough, it will fire you first and worry about the “protections” provided in the Faculty Handbook second.

Moore also alleges that before he was terminated he alerted the College of his intent to “exhaust his administrative remedies” concerning his termination and requested copies of the College’s faculty and personnel policies. Complaint at p. 5. To the extent this allegation can be construed to assert a claim that he was denied some purported contractual right to “process” under the College’s Faculty Handbook, his argument fails to state a claim in any event. Even assuming, solely for the purposes of this motion, that the Faculty Handbook somehow constitutes a contract between Moore and the College, the Handbook provides only that the College should provide “due notice” prior to a termination for “adequate cause.”2

That’s right. Don’t assume anything about the Faculty Handbook. Relying on it would be like relying on the information in an EphBlog post!

More later. What other highlights do people see?

Facebooktwitter
Print  •  Email