Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, May 4, 2023


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C.A. Restores Student’s Suit Against Regents


By a MetNews Staff Writer


medical student


The Third District Court of Appeal yesterday ordered reinstatement of an action by a medical student against the Regents of the University of California based on a claim that her studies were delayed because an instructor’s false accusation that she had committed plagiarism sapped so much of her time and energy that she was unable to take and pass a national exam, rendering her ineligible to become a third-year student.

The UC Davis student, Janée D. Murray, sued for breach of contract and breach of implied-in-fact contract.

Justice Stacy E. Boulware Eurie authored the unpublished opinion which reverses an order by Sacramento Superior Court Judge David Brown granting the regents’ anti-SLAPP motion. Brown based his riling on Code of Civil Procedure §425.16(e)(2) which renders protected “any written or oral statement or writing made in connection with an issue under consideration or review by a legislative, executive, or judicial body, or any other official proceeding authorized by law.”

Committee Hearings

The allegation by the instructor, Donna Williams, according to Murray, resulted in her appearing numerous times before the medical school’s promotions committee and professionalism committee during what is normally a “protected” period during the second year. It is reserved for preparing for and taking the first part of the United States Medical Licensing Exam.

Murray also complained that she was also diverted from preparing for the exam by Williams having put her on a “remediation” program in order to pass her course in Doctoring 2.

Eventually, it was determined that Murray had engaged in collaboration with another student, which is permitted, rather than having committed plagiarism.

Flaw in Order

Boulware Eurie wrote that Murray “appears to concede that proceedings of the promotions committee and professionalism committee at issue here were ‘other official proceedings authorized by law,’ ” protected under §425.16. But, she said, not all of Murray’s claims related to those proceedings. Oral and written statements concerning the plagiarism accusation that was before the committees came under §425.16(e)(2), but Murray’s claims of harassment by Williams did not, the jurist said.

The order granting the anti-SLAPP motion must be reversed, she declared, “because at least some of Murray’s claims clearly do not arise from defendant’s protected activity, defendant failed to address the claims individually, and the trial court did not analyze the claims individually.”

The case is Murray v. Regents of the University of California, C093385.


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