Punitive Extraction: Dental Student Wins $1.7 Million From Four Faculty Members for Dismissal

images1In 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.

5 thoughts on “Punitive Extraction: Dental Student Wins $1.7 Million From Four Faculty Members for Dismissal”

  1. Roland Darby:

    Well Roland after surfing to your site, I am now a big fan of audits if Chelsea is doing the leg work! Wow!

  2. Not even YOU can believe that this jury verdict will stand. Our appellate courts no longer let large amounts of money change hands no matter what the citizens say!
    Those days no longer exist except perhaps in MY mind.

  3. This is an interesting case. I expect the appeal(s) will make for good reading also. If I read the story correctly, she was dismissed after her 3rd year! That would be a horrible result for this student. What where her grades in the first two years? The story does not give us enough details. I am a little confused how she goes from Dental School to a Masters program in Speech Pathology. Interesting change of career choice. I’ll just have to wait for Chapter Two.

  4. “Zwick now is pursuing a master’s degree in speech pathology at Eastern Michigan University” and has employed a noted attorney on retainer sensing that she is being singled out for failure at this institution also.

    The basis for her complaint will be that she is suffering retribution from a system wide good old boy University network. I think she will be pulling this stunt for life.

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