Lyons v. Salve Regina College, No. 77-1083

CourtUnited States Courts of Appeals. United States Court of Appeals (1st Circuit)
Writing for the CourtBefore COFFIN, Chief Judge, CAMPBELL; CAFFREY
Citation565 F.2d 200
PartiesSheila M. LYONS, Plaintiff, Appellee, v. SALVE REGINA COLLEGE and Sheila M. Megley, Ph.d., Individually and in her capacity as Dean of Students at Salve Regina College, Defendants, Appellants.
Docket NumberNo. 77-1083
Decision Date25 November 1977

Page 200

565 F.2d 200
Sheila M. LYONS, Plaintiff, Appellee,
v.
SALVE REGINA COLLEGE and Sheila M. Megley, Ph.d.,
Individually and in her capacity as Dean of
Students at Salve Regina College,
Defendants, Appellants.
No. 77-1083.
United States Court of Appeals,
First Circuit.
Argued June 6, 1977.
Decided Nov. 25, 1977.

Page 201

Peter J. McGinn, Providence, R. I., with whom Normand G. Benoit and Tillinghast, Collins & Graham, Providence, R. I., were on brief, for defendants, appellants.

Walter R. Stone, with whom Stone & Clifton and Joanne E. Mattiace, Providence, R. I., were on brief, for plaintiff, appellee.

Before COFFIN, Chief Judge, CAMPBELL, Circuit Judge, and CAFFREY, * District Judge.

CAFFREY, District Judge.

This is an appeal from a final Order of the District Court which required defendant-appellants to reinstate plaintiff-appellee Sheila Lyons as a student in Salve Regina College for the purpose of obtaining a nursing degree.

Plaintiff filed an action in the District Court alleging a cause of action under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (1970) in September of 1976. The complaint was amended to invoke the diversity jurisdiction of the District Court for an action in the nature of breach of contract. It is undisputed that plaintiff, while a student at the College, received a grade of "F" in a course captioned "Nursing 402A." Because of this grade, under the rules of the College, she could no longer continue her studies towards a degree in nursing, and, in fact, she graduated from the College with a degree in the field of psychology. The relief sought by plaintiff on the basis of the amended complaint was an order requiring the College to change her grade in Nursing 402A from an "F" to an "Incomplete," reinstatement for the purpose of completing the courses required for a nursing degree, and money damages.

Briefly stated, plaintiff's contract theory was that the College Manual and Academic Information booklet constituted a contract between plaintiff and the College, and that the booklet contained provisions for the selection of a Grade Appeals Committee (Committee), for the hearing of a student's appeal concerning a disputed grade by the Committee, and for the recommendation of a course of action to the Dean of the College by the Committee. The ruling below was that the recommendation of the Committee was binding upon the Dean and that the Dean's failure to follow the recommendation, as found by the District Court, constituted an actionable breach of contract by the College.

The text of the pertinent parts of the College's Academic Information and Registration Materials for 1975 and 1976 is set out in the opinion of the District Court in Lyons v. Salve Regina College, 422 F.Supp. 1354, 1358 (D.R.I.1976), and need not be fully repeated here. The critical portion of that document appears under the heading "Grade Appeal Process" and provides, "After both cases (the student's and the teacher's) are presented to the three-member grade appeals committee, the recommendation of the committee is made to the Dean of Students/Associate Dean...

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63 practice notes
  • Kashmiri v. Regents of University of Cal., No. A113662.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 2, 2007
    ...is unique, and it should not be and can not be stuffed into one doctrinal category....'" (Lyons v. Salve Regina College (1st Cir.1977) 565 F.2d 200, 202.) Universities are entitled to some leeway in modifying their programs from time to time to exercise their educational responsibility prop......
  • Guckenberger v. Boston University, Civil Action No. 96-11426-PBS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • January 28, 1997
    ...its students with learning disabilities and to support their allegation of breach. See id. at 488; see also Lyons v. Salve Regina College, 565 F.2d 200, 202 (1st Cir.1977) ("[S]ome elements of the law of contracts are used and should be used in the analysis of the relationship between plain......
  • Becker v. Washington State Univ., No. 28743–2–III.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • December 20, 2011
    ...and it should not be and can not be stuffed into one doctrinal category.’ ” Id. at 306, 648 P.2d 94 (quoting Lyons v. Salve Regina Coll., 565 F.2d 200, 202 (1st Cir.1977)). Given the wide latitude and discretion afforded by courts to educational institutions in academic matters, and the fac......
  • Guckenberger v. Boston University, Civil Action No. 96-11426-PBS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • August 15, 1997
    ...because "[t]he student-university relationship is unique," contract law need not be "rigidly applied." Lyons v. Salve Regina College, 565 F.2d 200, 202 (1st Cir.1977) (quoting Slaughter v. Brigham Young Univ., 514 F.2d 622, 626 (10th Cir.1975)) (internal quotation marks B. BU's Brochures Th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
64 cases
  • Kashmiri v. Regents of University of Cal., No. A113662.
    • United States
    • California Court of Appeals
    • November 2, 2007
    ...is unique, and it should not be and can not be stuffed into one doctrinal category....'" (Lyons v. Salve Regina College (1st Cir.1977) 565 F.2d 200, 202.) Universities are entitled to some leeway in modifying their programs from time to time to exercise their educational responsibility prop......
  • Guckenberger v. Boston University, Civil Action No. 96-11426-PBS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • January 28, 1997
    ...its students with learning disabilities and to support their allegation of breach. See id. at 488; see also Lyons v. Salve Regina College, 565 F.2d 200, 202 (1st Cir.1977) ("[S]ome elements of the law of contracts are used and should be used in the analysis of the relationship between plain......
  • Becker v. Washington State Univ., No. 28743–2–III.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Washington
    • December 20, 2011
    ...and it should not be and can not be stuffed into one doctrinal category.’ ” Id. at 306, 648 P.2d 94 (quoting Lyons v. Salve Regina Coll., 565 F.2d 200, 202 (1st Cir.1977)). Given the wide latitude and discretion afforded by courts to educational institutions in academic matters, and the fac......
  • Guckenberger v. Boston University, Civil Action No. 96-11426-PBS.
    • United States
    • United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. United States District Courts. 1st Circuit. District of Massachusetts
    • August 15, 1997
    ...because "[t]he student-university relationship is unique," contract law need not be "rigidly applied." Lyons v. Salve Regina College, 565 F.2d 200, 202 (1st Cir.1977) (quoting Slaughter v. Brigham Young Univ., 514 F.2d 622, 626 (10th Cir.1975)) (internal quotation marks B. BU's Brochures Th......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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