Archive for Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Judge dismisses KU lawsuit

June 9, 2009

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Decision in Norris-KU Lawsuit ( .PDF )

A Douglas County judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Kansas University and former Provost David Shulenburger related to the 2004 firing of the longtime director at Spencer Museum of Art.

District Judge Sally Pokorny has granted KU’s motion for summary judgment in the case that Andrea Norris filed in 2006. Norris, who was seeking $112,000 in damages against KU, claimed the firing was degrading and damaging to her career.

Shulenburger fired Norris in March 2004, and during a recent hearing, the two parties had argued whether he had authority and grounds to do so. Norris had led the museum for nearly 16 years.

Pokorny ruled that Norris needed to show that a third party interfered with her employment contract.

“Reading the pleadings in a light most favorable to (Norris), there is no allegation that Provost Shulenburger was acting in his own interest or that he was motivated by improper personal reasons or that he was looking to profit for himself,” Pokorny wrote. “In fact, his actions were affirmed and ratified by the university.”

During a May court hearing, Sara L. Trower, associate general counsel for KU, said Norris served at the pleasure of her supervisor, who was Shulenburger.

Norris has 30 days to file an appeal with the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Sarah A. Brown, an attorney for Norris, declined comment Tuesday because she said she needed to discuss Pokorny’s ruling further with Norris before deciding how to proceed.

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