Lawsuits Against Faculty and Staff

Lawsuits are often filed against the university and they sometimes contain allegations that faculty and staff members acted in a negligent or otherwise wrongful manner. On occasion, faculty and staff may be named as defendants in lawsuits filed in state or federal courts. In these situations, Ohio law provides significant protections for university employees.

The Court of Claims statute requires that for a university employee to be sued individually in state court that the employee must either have: (a) acted outside the scope of their university duties, or (b) acted with malicious purpose, in bad faith, or in a wanton or reckless manner. If a lawsuit is filed in an Ohio court, the university will make a determination regarding its obligation to defend the employee and the cost of that defense. Typically, university employees are not parties to the litigation.

If a lawsuit is filed in Federal Court, university employees may be named as defendants. Typically, and as in the analysis above, the university will pay legal fees, and costs of any settlements or judgments, so long as neither (a) or (b), above, are applicable.

University employees desiring representation in university-related litigation must request to be represented. Faculty and staff requesting legal representation should submit a "Request for Personal Representation Letter” to the General Counsel.

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