Florida Coastal School Of Law Sued By Its Former President
The former president of Florida Coastal School of Law is suing the school, alleging wrongful termination and unpaid compensation.
Our Jacksonville Daily Record news partner reports Dennis Stone resigned as Florida Coastal’s president effective July 15, but retains his position as a tenured professor employed by the school, according to the complaint.
Florida Coastal Dean Scott DeVito said Monday he cannot comment on pending litigation.
In the complaint filed Wednesday by attorney R. Kyle Gavin of Liles Gavin, Stone asserts that he resigned as president of the school, but informed InfiLaw Systems LLC, the holding company that owns Florida Coastal, that he was ready, willing and able to perform his duties as a tenured professor.
He further states that “some discussion ensued” regarding whether Stone would take a leave of absence from teaching during Florida Coastal’s fall semester and then resume teaching during the next semester.
Stone’s complaint states that no agreement was reached because he was informed by an InfiLaw employee that they considered his status as a tenured employee to be terminated because they did not want any “contingent liabilities,” but failed to define what that means in the context.
InfiLaw filed three lawsuits in May in federal court against the American Bar Association after the ABA found InfiLaw’s three law schools – Charlotte School of Law in North Carolina, Arizona Summit School of Law in Phoenix and Florida Coastal – out of compliance with admission and accreditation standards.
Charlotte School of Law closed in August and Arizona Summit’s accreditation was rescinded in June by the ABA. Florida Coastal has appealed the noncompliance determination, but remains accredited and is not on probation.
Stone’s lawsuit references Florida Coastal’s faculty handbook and contends that no grounds exist, according to the school’s published policies, to terminate his status on the faculty.
It further states that the procedure to terminate a tenured professor required by the handbook or by American Bar Association standards for due process did not occur.
The complaint states that Florida Coastal stopped paying Stone after July 15 and also that the school wrongfully notified its pension administrator that Stone was no longer employed by the school.
The complaint concludes that the “sole reason” Stone’s tenured status was terminated was “because an employee of the holding company wanted to wrongfully retaliate against Professor Stone as the result of his resignation as President of FCSL.”
The complaint seeks judgment against Florida Coastal for Stone’s compensation due since July 15, attorney’s fees and interest.
The case is assigned to Circuit Judge Tyrie Boyer.