In an impressive verdict, Alissa Zwick a former dental student at the University of Michigan has won a $1.72 million verdict with punitive damages from four faculty members (Dr. Marilyn Lantz, an associate dean, and Drs. Bill Piskorowski, Mark Snyder and Fred Burgett) for her dismissal for alleged academic deficiencies. It is a rare verdict in an area generally left to the discretion of faculty.
The trial in the case lasted 14 days and the jury found that the faculty had violated Zwick’s due process rights, awarding a $1 million punitive damages award and $500,000 for emotional distress.
The four defendants have asked U.S. District Judge Marianne Battani to set aside the verdic due to “irrelevant and unfairly prejudicial” evidence. They continue to maintain that Zwick was not fit to be a dentist due to her poor performance in clinical tests. She claims, however, that the dismissal was due to a dispute with Lantz and other faculty. Zwick, 30, is now studying at Eastern Michigan University for a master’s degree in speech pathology.
For a copy of the earlier motion for summary judgment in the case, click here.
For the full story, click here.