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MOIRE v. TEMPLE UNIV. SCH. OF MED.

June 18, 1985

LAURA KLAWITTER MOIRE
v.
TEMPLE UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE and LOREN H. CRABTREE, JR., M.D.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: SHAPIRO

 NORMA L. SHAPIRO, J.

 INTRODUCTION

 Plaintiff Laura Klawitter, a medical school student at Temple University School of Medicine ("Temple") from February, 1977 to May 18, 1982 (now Dr. Laura Klawitter Moire), commenced this civil rights action against Temple and Loren H. Crabtree, Jr., M.D. ("Dr. Crabtree") on July 6, 1982, following her graduation from Temple. Dr. Crabtree was Director of Medical Education, Supervisor of the Clerkship Program, and Medical Director of the Young Adult Program at Horsham Clinic ("Horsham"). While in her third year (1979-80), plaintiff failed her psychiatric clerkship at Horsham. As a result of this and other failing or "conditional" grades, plaintiff failed to qualify for promotion to fourth-year status, unless and until she repeated her third year at Temple.

 Challenging her psychiatric clerkship grade only, plaintiff alleged that the defendants illegally conspired against her and failed her because of her sex, in violation of 42 U.S.C. §§ 1983 and 1985 and 20 U.S.C. § 1681 (Title IX). She charged that Dr. Crabtree subjected her to sexual harassment and that his Horsham colleagues and Temple faculty members sought to protect him. Plaintiff also asserted that Temple administrators violated her Fourteenth Amendment right to due process by failing to investigate or remedy her timely complaints appropriately.

 The court finds no credible evidence that Dr. Crabtree made improper sexual advances to plaintiff, nor that he and other members of the Horsham and Temple faculties conspired to discriminate illegally against her on the basis of her sex. The court also finds that Temple's decision to require plaintiff to repeat her third year was made after a careful and deliberate process that informed her of the proceedings and afforded repeated and meaningful opportunities for her to challenge the decision. This memorandum constitutes the court's findings of fact and conclusions of law pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 52(a).

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 Prior to trial, the parties stipulated to the following facts:

 Plaintiff, a female, was enrolled at Temple from February, 1977 through May, 1982; in November, 1979, she was a third-year medical student.

 During the academic year 1979-80, Dr. Crabtree's duties included supervision of Horsham's psychiatry clerkship program for third-year Temple medical students. Two other Temple medical students, Jack Ludmir and Lori Bennett, served psychiatry clerkships at Horsham with plaintiff. At a meeting on November 28, 1979 among Dr. Crabtree, plaintiff, Jack Ludmir and Lori Bennett, Dr. Crabtree explained that there were three clinical team assignments for medical students: Young Adult Program, Adult Program, and Substance Abuse Program. Plaintiff selected the Young Adult Program (of which Dr. Crabtree was Medical Director) and the other students selected other programs.

 Plaintiff spent the first four weeks of her Horsham psychiatry clerkship in the Young Adult Program. Barbara Cram, Ph.D., the Clinical Coordinator of the Young Adult Program, was plaintiff's immediate supervisor.

 In addition to the clinical team assignment, Horsham's psychiatry clerkship program for third-year Temple medical students included the following activities:

 
(a) Preception -- The medical students met with physician preceptors who discussed diagnosis, interview skills, and other issues in psychiatry. There were three preceptors during plaintiff's clerkship: N. Craig Baumm, M.D., Sandra Bloom, M.D., and Paul Weir, M.D. The three medical students were scheduled to meet as a group with each preceptor once a week.
 
(b) Continuous Case -- Dr. Crabtree met with the medical students as a group once a week. The students observed Dr. Crabtree in session with a patient; after the patient left, Dr. Crabtree and the students discussed what had occurred.
 
(c) Seminar -- Ivan Cohen, M.D., Medical Director of the Substance Abuse and Adult Programs and Administrative Director of the Adult Building, met with the medical students as a group once a week to discuss issues related to psychopharmacology.
 
(d) Special Lectures -- Various Horsham staff members lectured to the medical students as a group.

 At some point between December 3, 1979 and December 7, 1979, Dr. Crabtree asked plaintiff to meet with him ("first private discussion"). The first private discussion took place in Dr. Crabtree's office on the second floor of the Manor House at Horsham. Dr. Crabtree and plaintiff had a second private discussion the day after the first private discussion. Dr. Crabtree and plaintiff had a third private discussion during the first three weeks of plaintiff's psychiatry clerkship at Horsham. Dr. Crabtree and plaintiff had a fourth private discussion concerning plaintiff's request to transfer to the Substance Abuse Program.

 Plaintiff was transferred from the Young Adult Program to the Substance Abuse Program for the last two weeks of her Horsham psychiatry clerkship; Ms. Isla Zeh was then the Clinical Coordinator of the Substance Abuse Program and plaintiff's immediate supervisor.

 Within the first three full weeks of plaintiff's psychiatry clerkship at Horsham, plaintiff requested and had two meetings with Dr. Cristol concerning her problems there. Plaintiff received a failing grade for her psychiatry clerkship at Horsham and a failing grade in Psychiatry. In April, 1980, following receipt of this failing grade, plaintiff met with Dr. Cristol to discuss it. In April, 1980, plaintiff also met with Hugo D. Smith, M.D., Associate Dean for Curriculum at Temple, to discuss her grade.

 On June 26, 1980, the Temple Student Promotions Committee met and, inter alia, reviewed plaintiff's promotion. The Temple Student Promotions Committee recommended that plaintiff repeat her third year at Temple. On June 27, 1980, Associate Dean Smith spoke with plaintiff on the telephone, informed her that the Temple Student Promotions Committee had met, and reported the Committee's recommendation to her. On June 30, 1980, Associate Dean Smith met with plaintiff and discussed, inter alia, the June 26, 1980 Temple Student Promotions Committee meeting and recommendation and the scheduled July 2, 1980 Temple Executive Faculty meeting.

 Plaintiff prepared and submitted a written statement to the Temple Executive Faculty for its July 2, 1980 meeting. On July 2, 1980, the Temple Executive Faculty met and returned plaintiff's case to the Temple Student Promotions Committee. Between July 2, 1980 and July 7, 1980, Associate Dean Smith met with plaintiff and discussed, inter alia, the outcome of the July 2, 1980 Temple Executive Faculty meeting and the scheduled July 7, 1980 Temple Student Promotions Committee meeting.

 On July 7, 1980, the Temple Student Promotions Committee met again. Plaintiff and her chosen advocate, Dr. Batra, were present and participated in this meeting. The Temple Student Promotions Committee recommended that plaintiff be required to repeat her third year on probation. Between July 7, 1980 and July 9, 1980, Associate Dean Smith met with plaintiff and discussed, inter alia, the July 7, 1980 Temple Student Promotions Committee meeting and the scheduled July 9, 1980 Temple Executive Faculty meeting.

 Between July 2, 1980 and July 9, 1980, Leo M. Henikoff, M.D., Dean of Temple, met with plaintiff and discussed the scheduled July 9, 1980 Temple Executive Faculty meeting. Plaintiff prepared and submitted a written statement to the Temple Executive Faculty prior to this meeting. On July 9, 1980, the Temple Executive Faculty met and, inter alia, considered the Temple Student Promotions Committee's recommendation relating to plaintiff.

 On July 9, 1980, the Temple Executive Faculty approved the Temple Student Promotions Committee's July 7, 1980 recommendation. On July 10, 1980, Associate Dean Smith verbally informed plaintiff of the Temple Executive Faculty's decision, and on July 11, 1980, he wrote plaintiff informing her of the Temple Executive Faculty's decision and of her right to appeal that decision to Dean Henikoff. On July 15, 1980, plaintiff submitted a written appeal of her Psychiatry grade to Dean Henikoff. Dean Henikoff appointed an Ad Hoc Appeals Committee, which conducted hearings. The Ad Hoc Appeals Committee consisted of the following persons: William P. Barba, II, M.D. (Chairman); Joseph H. Baum, Ph.D.; Mary L. Cote, M.D.; Charles Shagass, M.D.; and Ethel Weinberg, M.D.

 Plaintiff retained Alan Lerner, Esquire, and Jeffrey I. Pasek, Esquire, as legal counsel in connection with her appeal. Plaintiff and her attorneys met with Dr. Barba before the first meeting of the Ad Hoc Appeals Committee to discuss, inter alia, the procedures of the Ad Hoc Appeals Committee. Plaintiff submitted a written statement to the Ad Hoc Appeals Committee.

 The Ad Hoc Appeals Committee held meetings on August 4, 7, 13, and 14, 1980, at which plaintiff was present for all or part of the time. During its August 4, 1980 meeting, the Ad Hoc Appeals Committee and plaintiff and her counsel met with Dr. Benson and Anthony Panzetta, M.D., Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry at Temple. During its August 7, 1980 meeting, the Ad Hoc Appeals Committee, plaintiff and her counsel met with Drs. Cohen and Crabtree of Horsham. During its August 13, 1980 meeting, the Ad Hoc Appeals Committee, plaintiff and her counsel met with Drs. Cohen, Crabtree, Cram, and Etemad, Messrs. Donahue and Tremblay, and Ms. Zeh of Horsham, and Horsham's counsel. During its August 14, 1980 meeting, the Ad Hoc Appeals Committee, plaintiff and her counsel met with Associate Dean Smith.

 The Ad Hoc Appeals Committee prepared a written report to Dean Henikoff dated August 14, 1980; the report recommended that plaintiff be failed in Psychiatry and required to repeat the third year. Plaintiff presented her grievances to Dean Henikoff during one or more meetings with him, and supplied him with additional materials for his review. On September 2, 1980, Dean Henikoff wrote plaintiff that he had decided to deny her appeal to change her Psychiatry grade and that plaintiff would be required to repeat the third year of medical school at Temple.

 On October 3, 1980, plaintiff filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights of the United States Department of Education ("OCR"). In her complaint to the OCR, plaintiff alleged that she had been subjected to sexual harassment by Dr. Crabtree, Horsham, and Temple, as a result of which she was given a failing grade in her psychiatry clerkship and not promoted to the fourth year of Temple medical school. Plaintiff's complaint to the OCR was filed by her then legal counsel, Alan Lerner, Esquire, and Jeffrey I. Pasek, Esquire. According to its files, the OCR interviewed the following persons: plaintiff; Drs. Barba, Benson, Cohen, Crabtree, Cram, Cristol, Etemad, Panzetta, Smith and Weinberg; Messrs. Donahue and Tremblay; and Ms. Zeh. The OCR concluded that there was no evidence of violation of Title IX.

 During her fourth year at Temple medical school, the academic year 1981-82, plaintiff participated in the National Resident Matching Program ("NRMP"). The NRMP matches fourth-year medical students with residency programs. The list of residency programs plaintiff submitted to the NRMP ranked Graduate Hospital as her first choice. Plaintiff was matched by the NRMP with a residency program in internal medicine at Graduate Hospital. Graduate Hospital is a respected institution for the training of residents in internal medicine. Plaintiff began the residency program in internal medicine at Graduate Hospital in June, 1982, after her graduation from Temple.

 DISCUSSION

 The material issues are:

 Whether Dr. Crabtree sexually harassed plaintiff or sanctioned a harassing environment at Horsham and whether Temple conspired with Horsham to discriminate ...


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