Former dean Lawrence Mitchell of Case Western Reserve University School of Law ()
The Case Western Reserve University School of Law professor who sued the university and former dean Lawrence Mitchell for retaliation last year is ending the litigation, having reached a mediated settlement.
The details of the agreement will remain confidential, according to a joint statement released on Tuesday by Raymond Ku and the university. As of July 1, Ku became director of the law school’s new Center for Cyberspace Law & Policy.
Ku’s attorney, Subodh Chandra of the Chandra Law Firm in Cleveland, did not immediately respond to calls for comment.
Mitchell resigned from the deanship in March amid controversy surrounding Ku’s suit, which alleged that the former dean had punished him for reporting his suspected sexual harassment of law school employees. Mitchell was to remain on the faculty but spend a year on sabbatical. He has since moved to New York.
“This has been a hard case, but everyone involved focused on finding a solution that would further the success and momentum of the law school,” mediator Michael Ungar, chairman of Ulmer & Berne’s litigation department, said in the joint statement.
“While the university and Professor Ku had significant differences regarding this matter, their sincere desire to act in the school’s best interests prevailed. I commend them all for their diligence, integrity and willingness to look beyond individual disagreements and embrace collaboration towards a common goal.”
Ku filed suit on Oct. 23 in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Court of Common Pleas seeking more than $25,000 for alleged retaliation and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
Ku, who has taught at the Cleveland law school since 2003, alleged that Mitchell stripped him of his position with the school’s Center for Law, Technology and the Arts, added to his workload and reduced his pay after Ku took his concerns over reports of Mitchell’s alleged harassment of staff and students to university provost W.A. “Bud” Baeslack III.
At the time, Ku was associate dean for academic affairs, although he resigned that position under pressure form Mitchell, according to his complaint.
Rather than intervene, Baeslack told Ku to take the matter up directly with Mitchell, who later accused the professor of disloyalty, the complaint said. Ku also reported the alleged retaliation to the university’s office of inclusion, diversity and equal opportunity, but administrators there concluded he had not been retaliated against.
Among the misdeeds Ku alleged against Mitchell were conducting a sexual relationship with a student, making inappropriate comments about Ku’s genitalia and sexually harassing members of the law school staff.
“The circumstances have been challenging for everyone involved,” the joint statement said. “The university and Professor Ku are glad that they were able to find a path that allows everyone to move past these recent difficulties and focus squarely on advancing the law school.”