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Kakaes v. George Washington University

District of Columbia Court of Appeals
790 A.2d 581 (2002)


Facts

Dr. Apostolos Kakaes (plaintiff) was an assistant professor at George Washington University (GW) (defendant). GW’s faculty code provided that if an assistant professor was not going to be granted tenure at the end of the professor’s term, GW would notify the professor in writing no later than June 30 of the year before the professor’s term expired. The faculty code stated that if timely notice was not provided, the faculty member “shall acquire tenure at the end of the term.” Kakaes’s term was scheduled to end on May 30, 1994. On June 28, 1993, GW’s vice president wrote Kakaes a letter that said GW’s Board of Trustees was still deciding whether to award Kakaes tenure, and he would hear the outcome as soon as possible. When Kakaes still had not heard a final decision in October 1993, he sued GW, alleging that GW had not provided timely notice of its decision to deny tenure as required by the faculty code. At a bench trial, Kakaes presented evidence that his lost salary at GW for the latter half of 1994 and the first half of 1995 was $75,018. Kakaes also testified about what his salary would have been if GW had granted him tenure, but he did not present any expert testimony supporting his calculations. The court found that GW had failed to provide Kakaes with timely notice and awarded him $75,018 in damages. Kakaes appealed to the District of Columbia Court of Appeals, arguing that the court should have required GW to grant him tenure and that the damages award was inadequate.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Schwelb, J.)

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