Law Students

Law School Accuses Student of Assuming Deceit in Disagreements, Student Files Defamation Suit
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A student of Wake Forest University School of Law has filed a complaint against his school, alleging that he was defamed via a letter from one of the institution’s deans. Daniel Skinner has filed a defamation lawsuit against the school, based on a May 10, 2012 letter he received from Suzanne Reynolds, Executive Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, saying that he is quick to accuse people of “fraud and deceit,” and filed an August 17, 2012 complaint with the American Bar Association based on the school’s failure to outline procedures for receiving and recording his initial complaint.

As reported by Above the Law, Skinner initially took issue with a policy or decision on the part of Wake Forest Dean Blake Morant. Citing ABA standards that say a Dean should not be reappointed over an objection by the substantial majority of the faculty, Skinner sent a letter to the entire student body and faculty calling for the removal of Dean Morant on March 21, 2012. No response to his complaint was made, and Skinner was reprimanded for sending letters to the entire faculty. Additionally, Skinner found that the student handbook did not provide adequate protocol for the filing and recording of student complaints, which is a part of the standards set by the ABA. Skinner reported the school to the ABA for violating the standard.

  
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Six weeks later, Reynolds hand-delivered Skinner the letter which was also given to Dean Morant and Ann Gibbs, Associate Dean of Student and Support Services. Reynolds’ letter read, “From my experience with you on this issue, if people disagree with you, you appear to assume that those persons are acting in bad faith and you accuse them of fraud and deceit.”

Skinner interpreted the letter, and the fact that it was cced to other members of the university’s staff, as an attack on his abilities as an attorney, and filed a defamation suit against Reynolds, Morant, the university and other staff members. His lawsuit alleges that the letter contains false statements made with malice, and that he was made the subject of ridicule, contempt and disgrace.

Neither Reynolds nor Wake Forest have responded to the defamation complaint, but Skinner keeps a blog on which he continues to post information about the school and its administrators.

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