Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Federal court dismisses complaint against Ohio University

The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio dismissed a case brought against Ohio University by a graduate doctor of the College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The case centered upon whether or not a state university may demand reimbursement from an out of state student who reneged on promises to practice in Ohio after graduation.

The university regularly collects six-figure annual sums from out-of-state alumni of its College of Osteopathic Medicine who default on a contractual agreement they must sign to be enrolled.

Non-Ohio residents who want to attend the medical school must agree to practice in Ohio for five years. Those who renege must pay back what the state invested in their education.

The student filed suit, alleging that the contract violates the "commerce clause" of the U.S. Constitution because the payment the university exacts for default is a penalty for opening a medical practice in another state and therefore an illegal restriction on interstate commerce.

The Court dismissed the case on procedural grounds without reaching the merits of the case, finding that the student was outside the statute of limitations to bring such a claim.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Court finds school district not liable for sex abuse

The Twelfth District Court of Appeals today has upheld a trial court's decision finding that a public school district is not liable for sex abuse of a student when, among other things, the abuse happens off of school grounds.

The case involves a minor student who participated in a special needs tutoring program. The tutoring was supposed to occur at the local library, but at some point started taking place at the tutor's house. The tutor and the student ended up engaging in sexual activity at her home. Subsequently, the tutor was criminally charged, pled guilty, and she served a six month prison sentence (as well as now being a registered sex offender).

Thereafter, the student filed suit against the school district. However, because the actions of the employee took place off of school grounds, and because the claim did not involve 'physical defects' of the school grounds, both the trial court and the appellate court were unwilling to find liability on the part of the school district.