At least four SDNY lawsuits have been filed against Columbia University relating to the recent campus protests, including a class action complaint filed April 29, accusing the University of breaching its contractual obligation to provide a safe learning environment, insofar as Columbia chose to respond to the protests by making classwork partially remote for the remainder of the school year:

Columbia has in no uncertain terms announced that the university is not safe for its Jewish students. But rather than clear the encampment, the administration decided to take the extraordinary step of shifting to a “hybrid” model of education for the remainder of the academic year, where students that don’t feel safe enough to attend class in person can view the class online. This absurd shift makes no attempt to solve the safety problem on campus, and at the same time, creates two very different educational experiences for Jewish and non-Jewish students. The vast majority of the student population, including these extreme demonstrators, get to attend classes in person, take tests in person, communicate with professors in person, and otherwise take advantage of the campus.

The Jewish students, on the other hand, get a second-class education where they are relegated to their homes to attend classes virtually, stripped of the opportunity to interact meaningfully with other students and faculty and sit for examinations with their peers. This policy shift is a clear admission that the campus is not simply experiencing a protest movement, which has happened to universities across the country for decades, but instead, has become a place that is too dangerous for Columbia’s Jewish students to receive the education they were promised.

The class action is before Judge Torres, who has scheduled a hearing on the plaintiff’s TRO application for tomorrow.

The other cases are:Continue Reading Columbia University Faces Wave of Litigation Over Campus Protests

In an opinion yesterday, Judge Broderick dismissed a putative class action brought by former participants in the Catholic Church’s Independent Reconciliation and Compensation Programs who had accepted settlements relating to childhood sex abuse claims. The plaintiffs sought to undo the settlements on the theory that the settlement amounts were fraudulently induced, insofar as they were not determined “independently” but instead were the product of interference from the Church itself and subject to an undisclosed cap of $500,000.

Judge Broderick found that the factual allegations supporting these theories, which had been pleaded as based only on “information and belief,” was insufficient:
Continue Reading Judge Broderick: Participants in Catholic Church’s “Reconciliation” Program Cannot Unwind Settlements

Last week, Judge Broderick denied a motion to dismiss a case brought by the copyright holders for the song “A New Day is Here at Last,” written by Perry Kibble in 1969 and performed by J.C. Davis.  The suit alleged that Justin Timberlake’s 2006 hit song “Damn Girl” sampled “A New Day is Here at Last” without seeking permission from the copyright holder, a company managed by Kibble’s sister.  Timberlake released the song in 2006 as part of an album and tour that received multiple Grammy and Emmy nominations.  Plaintiffs discovered that “Damn Girl” had sampled “A New Day is Here at Last” in August 2015 and filed the suit in February 2016.

Among other arguments, defendants claimed that the widespread availability of the album and concert DVD put plaintiffs on notice of any possible infringement well before 2015, and hence the case was untimely.  Judge Broderick rejected this argument:
Continue Reading Judge Broderick: Copyright Case Against Justin Timberlake Is Timely; Plaintiff Had No Duty “Scour” All Songs Immediately After Album Was Released