Texas A&M is seeking to dismiss a lawsuit brought by law graduates from Texas Wesleyan University School of Law, who allege they are due new diplomas after a college merger
Seeking more than $5 million in damages, Kristen Brown and several other TWU grads filed their suit against A&M, Dean Andrew Morriss, TWU and President Frederick Slabach on Aug. 11 in the U.S. District Court of Northern Texas, Fort Worth Division.
Court records show A&M’s most recent motion to dismiss was filed Dec. 7, asserting that the plaintiffs’ trademark claim is barred by sovereign immunity.
“The A&M Defendants respectfully request that the court dismiss Plaintiffs’ entire suit with prejudice,” the motion states.
In the summer of 2013, the Texas A&M University purchased Texas Wesleyan University School of Law and renamed it the Texas A&M University School of Law.
According to the suit, TAMU School of Law then announced it would no longer recognize pre-acquisition graduates as its alumni.
“This decision has damaged the disavowed graduates, who have lost the ability to easily show that their juris doctor degrees are valid to potential employers and clients, as their law school is no longer easily located on many lists of accredited law schools,” the suit states.
“This suit seeks to require TAMU School of Law to recognize the disavowed graduates based on estoppel. TAMU could have started its own law school, but having chosen to purchase one and backdate its accreditation to 1994, capitalizing on the bar results, hours of pro bono service, and other accomplishments of its pre-acquisition graduates, TAMU School of Law cannot now treat pre- and post-acquisition graduates differently.”
The plaintiffs maintain TAMU School of Law must complete the name change process it began by recognizing all graduates in the same way and reissue diplomas to TWU graduates dating back to the law school’s creation in 1994.
“Plaintiffs seek the Court’s declaration that the Law School treat Pre-Acquisition Graduates just as it does post-acquisition graduates, particularly with regard to the Law School’s marks and duties of the Law School with respect to all its graduates,” the suit states.
“Plaintiffs ask the Court to declare that TAMU School of Law cannot claim the work and accomplishments of Plaintiffs, and then deny that they are graduates.”
There are approximately 3,000 members in the proposed class, and plaintiffs expect to prove damages exceeding $5,000,000, the suit states.
Arlinton attorney Warren V. Norred represents the plaintiffs.
Attorney General Ken Paxton is representing A&M.
Case No. 4:15 –CV-00613