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Two down, one to go. Duquesne University has settled two of the three discrimination suits brought in 2010 by members of its School of Law faculty, and the third case appears poised to be dismissed by a federal judge. U.S. District Judge Nora Barry Fischer on June 21 closed the case brought by former associate dean Vanessa Browne-Barbour after the two parties reached a settlement agreement. The terms of that settlement were not disclosed. Browne-Barbour sued the university in June 2010, claiming that officials discriminated against her based on her race and sex when they declined to consider her for the interim dean position that opened in 2008 when the university removed Dean Donald Guter. She resigned in early 2009 and is joining the faculty of the South Texas College of Law in Houston, where Guter is now the dean. Browne-Barbour’s attorney, Timothy Kolman of Kolman Ely P.C. in Penndel, Pa., declined to comment. The outcome was similar in a lawsuit brought in July by former clinical law teacher Alice Stewart. She filed a sex discrimination and retaliation lawsuit, claiming that current Dean Ken Gormley reduced her pay, demoted her and moved her to an office outside the law school building in retaliation for a sexual harassment claim she filed against him in 2006. Kolman also represents Stewart. That case settled in November under undisclosed terms, although Stewart has since filed several sealed motions. “Circumstances that have arisen since the [dismissal of the case] that necessitate plaintiff’s filing of a motion, but the nature and contents of that motion, and the relief requested, cannot be publicly disclosed,” Kolman wrote in a court filing on March 23. Duquesne attorneys opposed the subsequent sealed motions, noting that after the settlement was announced, U.S. District Judge Arthur Schwab dismissed the case with prejudice — effectively closing it. When the Stewart settlement was announced, the university said in a formal statement that the two parties “have resolved their differences and Ms. Stewart is leaving to pursue other interests. The university wishes her well.” The still-pending discrimination case was brought by associate law professor Kellen McClendon in October. He claimed that he was unfairly denied an opportunity to be interviewed for the soon-to-be-open dean position in 2004 because he is black. Fischer, the same judge who presided over the Browne-Barbour case, dismissed the complaint in February, but McClendon filed an amended complaint in April. Fischer heard oral arguments on June 14, and apparently was not swayed by the plaintiff’s arguments. “She said she was leaning towards dismissing the complaint,” said David Millstein, McClendon’s attorney.

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