Ex Law Students Sue Over 'Arbitrary and Capricious' D in Contracts

By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on February 08, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Welcome Karla Ford and Jonathan Chan to the worldwide web of ridicule. They're going to need all the support they can get.

The pair was kicked out of law school after earning "D" grades in a first-year contracts course. They've since filed a federal lawsuit against Texas Southern University's Thurgood Marshall School of Law and the instructor, claiming the grades were "arbitrary and capricious."

The school is also accused of assigning grades "in order to 'curve them out' of law school." Um, duh?

In actuality, it seems TSU goes to great lengths to even the 1L playing field. Dean Dannye Holley told the Houston Chronicle that grades involve "a complex formula in which instructors award points by ranking students according to class performance." This ranking accounts for 50% of the grade, while the other 50% involves a multiple-choice exam that is graded by an outside contractor.

Can multiple-choice exams be "arbitrary and capricious"? And what about performance? Maybe they said really ridiculous things in class. Any former classmates want to chime in?

The fact is that law school is graded on a curve. Someone has to be on the low end. Or, as Karla Ford and Jonathan Chan have proven, the really low end. 

The "D" grades were given in Contracts II, a second semester class. The school demands that students maintain at least a 2.0 GPA. What exactly did Karla Ford and Jonathan Chan score in all of their other 1L classes? 

Related Resources:

Copied to clipboard