Judge turns down request to remove UTMB provost from Ike layoff suit

John Suayan, Galveston Bureau Apr. 14, 2011, 9:44am

GALVESTON � A Galveston district judge recently denied a motion to dismiss the administration of the University of Texas Medical Branch from a lawsuit over layoffs following Hurricane Ike.

Galveston County 212th District Court Judge Susan Criss turned down UTMB School of Medicine provost Dr. Garland D. Anderson and seven chairs in requests to be removed from a lawsuit alleging they engaged in layoff practices not in accordance to the University Of Texas Board Of Regents' rules.

Criss signed the order on March 21.

As the Southeast Texas Record previously reported, nine former professors claim Anderson instructed seven chairs to classify the faculty in their respective departments into three categories in response to UTMB's financial exigency in Ike's aftermath, branding the method as a violation of their tenure rights.

Three lists categorized personnel by their level of importance, the suit filed last Nov. 22, states.

According to the plaintiffs, the provost told any colleague opposed to the move that they would have to name a faculty member to the non-essential, or "C" list, under his proposed system, without regard to tenure.

One hundred and twenty-seven School of Medicine faculty, including the plaintiffs, were dismissed.

In their motion, the defendants assert each of them was a government employee acting within the general scope of their employment and insist the plaintiffs could have presented their claims under the Texas Tort Claims Act.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Timothy A. Beeton of Galveston and Micky N. Das of Houston.

Thompson & Henneman LLP is representing the defendants.

Case No. 10-cv-4210

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