Friday, April 14, 2017
Former Berkeley Law Dean Choudhry settles lawsuits with Berkeley and with the secretary, Ms. Sorrell, who accused him of sexual harassment
The full settlement agreement with Berkeley is here: Download Choudhry - Fully Executed SA
Briefly: Prof. Choudhry will resign at the end of the 2017-18 academic year; he will pay $50,000 towards Ms. Sorrell's legal fees and $50,000 towards a designated charity; the university acknowledges that Prof. Choudhry was not found to have committed any sexual assault or to have acted with any sexual intent. I am on the road, so if I've missed relevant details in my cursory review of the settlement, please e-mail me.
UPDATE: I was astonished to see these statements from Ms. Sorell and her lawyer:
A woman who sued the University of California and the former dean of UC Berkeley's law school for sexual harassment is outraged that the school is allowing him to keep his tenured professorship, she announced Saturday...
"This is just one more example of UC refusing to take sexual harassment seriously and once again offering a soft landing even after a finding of harassment," Sorrell's attorney, Leslie F. Levy, said Saturday.
One of Prof. Choudhry's attorneys wrote to me: "You will be interested to know that Ms. Sorrell and her lawyers have had our agreement with UC for over a month and had no objection." But put that to one side: this reaction to the settlement is insane. Prof. Choudhry has given up his tenured position, and given up his salary effective July 1; he gets the "title" for another year, but is on an unpaid "sabbatical" [sic]. That is supposed to be evidence that Berkeley offered the accused a "soft landing"? What exactly does the plaintiff want here?
Everyone I have heard from speaks very highly of Ms. Sorrell, who was undoubtedfly subjected to wrongful treatment, even if it was done, as Berkeley admits, without sexual intent; so I fear she has here been given very bad advice by her attorney at this point, who is presumably responsible for this absurd and vindictive pronouncement.
ANOTHER: Ms. Sorrell and her attorney got a payout of $1.7 million from Berkeley as part of their settlement. That's an astonishing number when you recall that, e.g., Steven Salaita, wrongfully fired from a tenured position by the University of Illinois and his attorneys got only $850,000 a few years ago. The exraordinarily large settlement also makes the vindictive comments about Choudhry all the more striking.