I don't know anyone who graduated from Minnesota's University of St. Thomas' School of Law (not to be confused with my hometown's St. Thomas University School of Law), but I trust the latest alumni newsletter is going to contain some wonderful news - "we're out of the Joseph Rakofsky case!"
That's right, the meritless defamation case rife with jurisdictional issues (there was none over this defendant) is now a part of the law school's history. Alumni can be proud to know that their law school, where students are taught advocacy, good legal writing, and of course, an occasional legal premise about frivolous law suits, sent Rakofsky packing with a confidential settlement (that someone, wonder who, leaked.)
While all the other defendants are spending their time showing the world the ridiculous law suit, filing motions to dismiss and then probably motions for sanctions, the University of St. Thomas decided it was a better move to pay Rakofsky $5,000 to settle.
The 367 alumni that donated to the annual fund need not worry, as this money was not paid from your annual donations to the school, those will continue to be used for capital improvements (maybe a new courtroom to show students where they may wind up if they don't settle frivilous lawsuits) and endowed chairs (a professor in the area of "go-away" money may be on the horizon).
As Mark Bennett puts it:
By settling with Rakofsky, the law school and Hackerson have painted a great big target on themselves for anyone else who wants to file a frivolous lawsuit. (Hear that, disgruntled unemployed St. Thomas grads? File that lawsuit; they’ll settle for nuisance value!)
You may wonder why the University of St. Thomas chose to be the lone of over 80 defendants to settle. Well, what was the alternative? To fight? To show Rakofsky that this is a law school and law schools know the law?
Is that really worth spending more than $5,000?
By the way, the school website photo of the University of St. Thomas staff member (your librarian) that was named in the suit was, contrary to prevailing thought, not taken after the settlement.
The University of St. Thomas is celebrating it's 10th year "integrating faith and reason in the search for the truth."
I think they need to integrate an understanding of the law, to start.
Non-anonymous comments welcome. Located in Miami, Florida, Brian Tannebaum practices Bar Admission and Discipline and Criminal Defense. He is the author of I Got A Bar Complaint.