Saturday, November 9, 2013

Ross v. Creighton University case brief

Ross v. Creighton University case brief summary
740 F.Supp. 1319 (1990)

Plaintiff student-athlete brought an action against defendant university in contract and tort. He claimed the university injured him by recruiting him to attend the school on a basketball scholarship while knowing he was pitifully unprepared to attend college. The university filed a motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, or, in the alternative, for failure to state a claim on which relief could be granted.

The student-athlete sought to recover for alleged wrongs done him in connection with the university's recruitment of him to play basketball. His claim intertwined elements of negligent infliction of emotional distress with educational malpractice. He asserted the university was negligent for recruiting an athlete utterly incapable of performing the academic work, then enrolling him in a remedial elementary school program, which contributed to his emotional problems.


  • The court disagreed and dismissed the action. 
  • Education was an intensely collaborative process, requiring the interaction of student with teacher. 
  • The ultimate responsibility for success remained with the student. 
  • The court held the student-athlete had no action against the university for malpractice. 
  • Because he could not allege that he was physically injured or stood in a zone of physical danger, he did not have a claim for negligent infliction of emotional distress. 
  • The court refused to craft a new tort for the student-athlete and concluded that the quality of the university's instruction could not be attacked on contractual grounds. 
  • Claims based upon educational quality could not be enforced through a lawsuit.

The court denied the motion to dismiss on jurisdictional grounds, but granted the motion to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The dismissal was with prejudice. The Court entered judgment in favor of the university and against the student-athlete.

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