Banzhaf’s Sue-O-Matic

by Walter Olson on May 3, 2006

Such a collegial guy to have around a faculty, that Prof. Banzhaf:

Students at the George Washington University may now be able to sue administrators individually for perceived wrong-doings rather than attempt legal action against the University as a whole, with the help of a new legal tactic suggested by maverick GW Law professor John Banzhaf.

Using the District of Columbia’s Human Rights Act as support, Banzhaf created a website, banzhaf.net/fightback, to educate students on how they can sue individual GW administrators and professors without the institutional legal protection the University typically provides. …

“If you could download a simple complaint (form) from the Internet and go after not the University but the individual administrator who made the decision, I think you’ve got leverage,” said Banzhaf.

(Christine Grimaldi and Emily Metz, “Prof: students can sue individual administrators”, Daily Colonial, Apr. 17). Last week, administrators at GWU announced that they were reversing an earlier stand and capitulating to a demand by Banzhaf and various students to post signs discouraging persons from smoking near entrances to the university’s campus in an urbanized section of Washington, D.C. (Katie Rooney, “GW to post signs asking smokers to back off from buildings”, GW Hatchet, Apr. 24). Banzhaf naturally takes credit:

“It was only after I initially threatened to sue him [college director of risk management and insurance Fitzroy Smith] personally and sent a draft complaint to University lawyers, did they agree to revise signs over all the campus buildings,” said Banzhaf…

If appropriate signs are not up by the beginning of the Fall 2006 semester, Banzhaf and his law students “will file the complaint, which would make Mr. Smith liable for tens of thousands of dollars plus my attorney fees,” said Banzhaf in a letter released on Friday.

Banzhaf plans to seek $100 for every student exposed to second-hand smoke while entering University buildings from January until the signs are up….

“At this point I hope they do it right,” said Banzhaf. “I’m not kidding around.”

(Brittany Levine, “GW concedes to smoking ban petition”, Daily Colonial, Apr. 24).

For more on Prof. Banzhaf, whose activities regularly furnish material for this site, see Feb. 28 and links from there. An absurdly laudatory editorial about him in the university newspaper states: “As a professor of public interest law here at GW, Banzhaf has become most notable for his class on ‘Legal Activism,’ also informally known as ‘suing for credit.’ His class teaches students to become public interest lawyers while giving them real experience.” (“GW’s own legal powerhouse”, Apr. 20).

{ 2 comments }

1 Bradford 05.03.06 at 11:28 am

“Students at the George Washington University may now be able to sue administrators individually for perceived wrong-doings rather than attempt legal action against the University as a whole, with the help of a new legal tactic suggested by maverick GW Law professor John Banzhaf.”

The next logical step is to classify professors as administrators, and Law Professor John Banzhaf may someday reap the whirlwind for his wrong-doings such as giving bad grades to students.

Kind Regards,
Bradford

2 J.T. Wenting 05.05.06 at 12:09 am

Couldn’t GWU sue Banzhaf and those students for blackmail?
After all, they blackmailed GWU into doing something with their threats of lawsuits (which without doubt would have cost GWU millions and brought Banzhaf those same millions).

Comments on this entry are closed.