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Thomas Cooley’s Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Yesterday was not a good day for the Thomas M. Cooley Law School.

First, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled against the school in its defamation suit against an attorney and his law firm for posting negative comments about Cooley on the Web site JD Underground. The district court had concluded that, for this purpose, the school was a limited public figure and, as a consequence, could not win its suit.  For a public figure to win a defamation claim, the plaintiff must be able to show that the defendant acted with “actual malice,” publishing knowingly false statements or having acted with a reckless disregard for the truth or falsity of the statements.  Viewing the record, the district court concluded Cooley could not overcome this burden and entered judgment for the defendants, and the sixth Circuit affirmed.

Were that not bad enough, Cooley yesterday announced that enrollment has dropped so much (approximately 40 percent) that it would not be enrolling students at its Ann Arbor campus this fall.  (Cooley has multiple campuses.)  The school has also announced that it will be laying off faculty and staff.  The Daily Caller has more here.


Jonathan H. Adler teaches courses in constitutional, administrative, and environmental law at the Case Western University School of Law, where he is the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation.
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