Ward Churchill case: Did he really only want $1 in lawsuit against CU?

Categories: Education, News

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Ward Churchill.
Update below: Earlier this week, we wrote about the Colorado Supreme Court's ruling against Ward Churchill, despite an earlier verdict in which a jury agreed CU-Boulder had violated the controversial ex-professor's rights by firing him.

Of course, the jury only awarded Churchill a dollar, but his lawyer said that's all the controversial former professor requested -- a claim that draws a sharp rebuke from CU's attorney in the case.

As you'll recall, Churchill was drawn into the spotlight after an essay in which he'd likened 9/11 victims to "little Eichmanns" came to light. Afterward, an investigation into Churchill was conducted and is said to have unearthed evidence of academic misconduct -- the reasons given by the university for his firing. In response, Churchill sued, claiming that charges of plagiarism and the like were being used as a pretext to punish him for the essay -- actions that thereby violated his right to free speech.

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Patrick O'Rourke.
Churchill asked for reinstatement to CU, but despite the 2009 jury's verdict, his request wasn't granted. In response, his attorney, David Lane, demanded in a lawsuit that the university take him back. But Judge Larry Naves rejected his request, ruling that the CU Board of Regents, which had done the sacking, acted as a quasi-judicial body and was therefore immune from lawsuits.

After the Colorado Supreme Court agreed, Lane decried the justices' reasoning, particularly in comparison to the jury's findings.

"We had a jury that listened to chapter and verse of this case for a month -- and a jury of citizens said Ward Churchill got fired in retaliation for his free speech," he told Westword. "We only asked them for a dollar, and they gave us a dollar. But we wanted reinstatement from the court, and even though you had a jury saying, 'Ward Churchill is a victim of First Amendment discrimination,' a group of judges responded by saying, 'We're going to rig it so he loses. We are taking the jury's well-thought-out verdict after a month-long trial and we're throwing it in the trash -- and we're simply saying the regents are above the law."

But did Lane only ask for a dollar? Patrick O'Rourke says no, and presents documentation from the case to back up his assertion.

Continue to read the dollar debate, as well as David Lane's rebuttal and documents pertaining to the Ward Churchill case.

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