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February 2011

Gordon & Rees Obtains Dismissal of Graduate Degree Procedure Suit Against UC-Davis

San Francisco Partner Mike Bruno and Sacramento Senior Counsel George Acero successfully dismissed a student's lawsuit against the University of California, Davis via a demurrer. The student's complaint alleged his thesis advisor promised him he would obtain his Ph.D before he left for his medical residency. However, this did not occur as the thesis committee found the student's thesis inadequate. The student filed suit alleging a breach of an implied contract and a denial of due process. Gordon & Rees responded via a demurrer arguing that (1) even if such a purported implied contract had been made, it was barred by the statute of frauds since the Ph.D program took more than one year to complete; (2) the due process claim was barred due to the plaintiff's failure to exhaust his administrative remedies since no grievance was filed and, even if a letter the student sent to the administration (which the student attempted to characterize as a grievance in opposing the demurrer) qualified as a formal grievance, it was submitted past the 30-day deadline University policy allows to file grievances. After a couple of demurrers, the Court dismissed the complaint without leave to amend.

Michael D. Bruno


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