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Breach of Implied Contract Allegation Against An Academic Institution Not Specific Enough When Disciplinary Disputes Are Involved

February 2, 2017

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In <em>Jones v. Trustees of Union College</em>, the plaintiff was expelled from Union College as a result of his confession to arson in the second degree.  After accepting an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal in the criminal case, Jones then alleged that he had falsely confessed to setting the fire and should not have been expelled from the College.  He further alleged that upon his expulsion the College had breached its contract, because Jones had agreed to pay tuition in exchange for educational services.
Defendants moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim. The trial court held, and the appellate court affirmed that there is an implied contract upon acceptance to an educational institution.  However, where a disciplinary dispute arises, the question becomes whether the institution substantially complied with its own rules and regulations, as opposed to making an arbitrary determination.  As such, the appellate court found that plaintiff failed to allege with the requisite specificity the terms of the implied contract that were breached, and did not state a claim.
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