The Volokh Conspiracy

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Yale Law DinnerPartyGate Makes It to Federal Court


You can see the Complaint (alleging breach of contract, defamation, disclosure of private facts, and related torts) in Jane Doe & John Doe v. Heather Gerken, Ellen Cosgrove, Yaseen Eldik & Yale Univ., as well as the "dossier" in Exhibit A, as well as the motion to allow pseudonymity. An excerpt:

[1.] Two Yale Law School deans, along with Yale Law School's Director of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, worked together in an attempt to blackball two students of color from job opportunities as retaliation for refusing to lie to support the University's investigation into a professor of color.

[2.] Gerken, Yale Law School's Dean, and Cosgrove, the Associate Dean, approached an esteemed law professor and expert in constitutional law, and discouraged the professor—who already employed Jane and John as long-term research assistants—from hiring Jane and John as so-called "Coker Fellows," prestigious teaching assistant positions that often lead to federal clerkships and other lucrative career opportunities.

[3.] Defendants Gerken and Cosgrove approached the professor as retaliation for Plaintiffs Jane and John's reporting a harassing and defamatory report (the "Dossier," Ex. A), which was compiled and circulated by another law student and related to Plaintiffs' private interactions with a high-profile Yale Law School Professor, Amy Chua ("Chua").

[4.] The Dossier, which Defendants disseminated, placed Jane and John at the center of an ongoing campus-politics feud between Gerken and Chua.

[5.] When Plaintiffs reported the Dossier to the University, Defendants Cosgrove and Eldik pressured Jane and John to make knowingly and materially false statements in a formal complaint against Chua.

[6.] When Plaintiffs refused, Gerken and Cosgrove retaliated by speaking with the professor and telling him that he should not hire Jane and John because of their "lack of candor," despite Plaintiffs' steadfast refusal to lie to further the University's crusade against Chua.

[7.] Not only did Gerken and Cosgrove harm Plaintiffs by knowingly circulating a document full of lies to Plaintiffs' employer and professor, but they also violated the University's Policy Against Discrimination and Harassment (the "Handbook")—by its own terms a binding contract on all members of Yale's community—whereby the administration is explicitly prohibited from retaliating against students who report a concern, file a complaint, and/or participate in an investigation….

As always, recall that this is just the plaintiffs' side of the story.

UPDATE: Yale Daily News (Eda Aker & Philip Mousavizadeh) has the story as well, and adds:

University spokesperson Karen Peart wrote in an email to the News that "the lawsuit is legally and factually baseless, and the University will offer a vigorous defense."