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Kortyna v. Lafayette College

United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania

September 19, 2014

ANDREW KORTYNA, Plaintiff,
v.
LAFAYETTE COLLEGE and WENDY HILL, Defendants

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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For ANDREW KORTYNA, Plaintiff: DAVID FERLEGER, LEAD ATTORNEY, JENKINTOWN, PA.

For LAFAYETTE COLLEGE, WENDY HILL, Defendants: JOHN F. STOVIAK, JOSHUA W.B. RICHARDS, LEAD ATTORNEYS, SAUL EWING LLP, PHILADELPHIA, PA; ROBERT L. DUSTON, LEAD ATTORNEY, PRO HAC VICE, SAUL EWING LLP, WASHINGTON, DC.

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MEMORANDUM

LAWRENCE F. STENGEL, J.

Dr. Andrew Kortyna, a Lafayette College professor, brought this suit against the College and its former Provost after his request to have his attorney represent him at a school disciplinary hearing was denied. Two students have accused him of sexual harassment. These accusations allegedly caused him to develop debilitating anxiety and depression. Dr. Kortyna believes he cannot represent himself at his disciplinary hearing on these charges because of his mental and emotional condition. The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint under Rule 12(b)(6). For the reasons stated below, I will grant their motion and dismiss the complaint in its entirety.

I. BACKGROUND[1]

Lafayette College is a private liberal arts college in Easton, Pennsylvania that receives federal funding. Dr. Andrew Kortyna is a tenured physics professor at Lafayette. He received his Ph.D. in physics in 1993 and began teaching at Lafayette in 2001. Defendant Wendy Hill was the Provost of Lafayette College at the time the plaintiff filed his complaint. She left Lafayette to become the head of The Agnes Irwin School in Rosemont, PA on July 1, 2014.

a. Student Accusations against Dr. Kortyna

On September 26, 2013, a senior at Lafayette College--student W--filed a complaint with Provost Wendy Hill accusing Dr. Kortyna of sexually harassing her.[2] On October 2, 2013, Provost Hill telephoned Dr. Kortyna to inform him that a student complaint had been filed against

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him. She did not provide him with more specifics and told him that she had no documentation. The plaintiff alleges that she did, in fact, have more information and documentation at the time of this call.

On October 3, 2013, another student--student B--filed a one-sentence complaint of sexual harassment against Dr. Kortyna. This student is allegedly a close friend of student W. On October 4, 2013, Dr. Kortyna " apologized to B for anything he might have done to upset her" during a conversation that " lasted about less than a minute and took place in public in front of the Hugel Science Center which houses Andrew Kortyna's office and ...


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