Litigating It Old-School

Former Chapman instructors invoke a Civil War-era law in their multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the university

Bartley, the plaintiffs' attorney, refers to WASC and Chapman as a "good-old-boys" club, and says even though the association won't take action, he believes he can prove the allegations to a jury.

When asked if she is just suing for the money, 69-year-old former Chapman professor-turned-plaintiff Chris Moyers, who taught at a dozen University College campuses in 17 years, laughs out loud.

Moyers says the practice of cutting class hours was systemic and ongoing for her entire career with Chapman. She was confronted with it her very first day, she says, when an administrator approached her after she held a class its entire scheduled time.

"One of them says, 'If you cover what your supposed to cover, that's important, but the most important thing is keeping the students happy so they will sign up for more classes."

Moyers acknowledges the potential multimillion dollar judgment against Chapman could hurt the school financially, but, she says, Chapman has gotten away with it for several years not included in this case's 1998 statute of limitations.

"I think it is not nearly grievous enough because you're only going back a few years. My experience goes back 20 years before that," she says.

Department of Justice spokesman Miller says the vast majority of False Claims Act suits never see a jury and are either dismissed or settled out of court.

Asked in an e-mail how paying such a substantial judgment could affect the school, Chapman University lawyers responded, "We do not anticipate being subjected to such a judgment."

DOLSON@OCWEEKLY.COM

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