Yale moves to dismiss Bagley lawsuit

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Photo by Alexandra Schmeling .

Three months after a School of Management professor filed suit against Yale alleging gender and age discrimination, the University has responded by moving to dismiss the case.

The motion, filed by the University on Thursday, is the University’s first formal legal response to a suit filed on Dec. 20 by SOM professor Constance Bagley. In the suit, Bagley — who teaches the practice of law and management at SOM — claimed that she was not reappointed to her professorship in May 2012 because of her gender and age. She also accused her colleague and professor Douglas Rae, who co-taught a course with her, of repeated acts of discrimination. But the University filed a memorandum claiming that Bagley’s suit falls short in several aspects, also alleging that Bagley did not exhaust all possible options of handling her complaint through the University before filing suit.

“I continue to believe in the validity of the claims set forth in the complaint, and look forward to putting the procedural posturing behind us so we can let a jury decide the merits of the case,” Bagley said Sunday.

Bagley and her lawyer plan to file a response to Yale’s motion to dismiss in late April, Bagley added. Oral arguments in the case are scheduled to take place on June 25 — which will mark the first time parties will testify in court.

Bagley’s December complaint — which was filed against the University, SOM Dean Edward Snyder, SOM Deputy Dean Andrew Metrick and Rae — lists 18 counts of discrimination and seeks monetary compensation for Bagley. In the complaint, Bagley also claims that the gender animus she experienced was symptomatic of a generally hostile environment for women at SOM. Snyder, Metrick and Rae all declined to comment.

In conjunction with its motion to dismiss, the University filed a 99-page memorandum laying out its arguments against Bagley’s claims. The memorandum’s three fundamental arguments were that Bagley’s state and federal discrimination claims should be dismissed, that the United States District Court should not exercise “supplemental judgement” over claims made under state laws and that five of Bagley’s 18 initial alleged counts of discrimination “fail to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”

The University said the suit should be dismissed because Bagley had not exhausted all possible options to handle her complaint through internal University procedures before filing.

The memorandum further asserted that Bagley’s initial complaint to the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities — a state-run office that works to eliminate discrimination through civil and human rights law enforcement — as well as her complaints under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act were not filed within the time frames required under the respective laws.

The University also stated that Bagley’s complaint against Rae was based on alleged expressions of opinion and were not sufficiently specific.

The defendants had asked for an extension on the original due date for their response to the lawsuit, Bagley said. Bagley’s attorney gave them half of the time they requested — until March 3. On this date, the respondents obtained another extension to March 20.

Bagley said she thinks the lawsuit is not only relevant to her, but to Yale itself as well.

“I believe that the complaint raises very serious and totally verifiable allegations of misconduct,” she said. “I don’t think the University is served by having things like this going on — it’s not just me.”

Bagley was initially recruited to teach at Yale by then-SOM Dean Joel Podolny in July 2007.

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