Law Professors, Law Schools, Pro Se Litigants, Ridiculousness

Law Student Sues Over Bad Grade That Destroyed His Legal Career

‘That professor will rue the day he gave me a D!’

When most law students receive crappy grades, they drown their own self-pity in alcohol, shrug it off, and tell themselves they’ll do better next time. Some law students, though, as ludicrous as it may be, feel that their only recourse after receiving a bad grade is to sue. This is without fail the very worst option a law student could take, but it’s entertaining if only because these whiny lawsuits are filed pro se.

Take, for example, a lawsuit that was recently filed by a former student at an unaccredited law school. The plaintiff is pissed that he got a terrible grade in one of his classes, and he wants a federal court to mete out his revenge against the professor who ruined his life.

Did we mention that he wants $100,000 in damages for “years of not being in a legal career”?

The National Law Journal reports that Martin Odemena, a former evening student at the Massachusetts School of Law, is suing his Contracts professor and the school itself after he received a “D.” Here’s more:

According to the complaint, Odemena was a night law student during the 2010-2011 academic year when he took Devlin’s contracts class. The course syllabus said there would be optional reviews and quiz sessions each Friday afternoon, some of which Odemena did not attend.

At the end of the course, Odemena received a D grade, lower than he expected, the compliant says. When he inquired about his low grade, Devlin said that the quizzes were factored into the final grades. …

According to the complaint, Odemena protested his grade through [Professor Peter Malaguti, who acts as the school’s general counsel], but an investigation concluded that Devlin orally amended the written syllabus during the first class session to make clear that the quizzes would count toward final grades. A fellow student found notes from the class reflecting the change, Malaguti concluded.

We guess Odemena wasn’t there or wasn’t listening when his professor orally amended the syllabus during class. Odemena subsequently got suspended, and the school gave him a letter declaring that he was no longer in good standing, rendering him unable to transfer to another school.

The angry ex-law student is demanding a declaratory judgment from the District of Massachusetts that the quizzes shouldn’t be counted in his grade — because he clearly deserves special treatment over all of his classmates, even the ones who paid attention in class. Here’s the money quote from Odemena’s lawsuit:

Forgive us, but some would argue that Odemena’s legal career was “for all practical purposes over” the minute he enrolled at an unaccredited law school whose employment statistics are nowhere to be found online. Odemena has also requested six figures in damages for his “years of not being in a legal career.” We imagine that at this point, law school graduates — especially the ones who didn’t receive Ds — who have suffered through years of not being in a legal career are laughing their asses off right now.

Taken as a whole, it’s as if this guy has been living in an alternate universe where law graduates in a state glutted with attorneys get offers from every job they apply to and are magically bequeathed the power to make wild demands as to what their legal careers would have been worth but for one life-ruining grade.

Alas, that universe is pure fantasy, much like the relief Martin Odemena thinks the court will grant him.

(Flip to the next page to see Odemena’s ridiculous lawsuit in full.)

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