By Leandria Mack
A second lawsuit has been filed against Ryerson by former journalism instructor Thomas Pawlick.
This time Pawlick is seeking damages of $250,000, alleging a student and the Ryerson Review of Journalism breached copyright by plagiarizing his masters thesis on agricultural reporting.
The first lawsuit, filed last spring, was directed at the university, the journalism department and two instructors, Don Obe and Lynn Cunningham.
In a statement of claim, Pawlick alleged he was belittled and forced to resign by students and faculty who were disappointed he was hired for a position instead of Gerald Hannon.
Pawlick, who was hired to teach a fourth-year advanced magazine writing course last year, only taught for a month before resigning.
According to a Toronto Star article by Maureen Murray last month, Pawlick decided to take action against Ryerson after the school of journalism’s newspaper, The Ryersonian, published what he called a “defamatory story about his untimely resignation.”
On advice from the school’s lawyer, those named in the cases refused to comment on the pending lawsuits, including Paul Rush, chair of the journalism school.
Obe, a journalism instructor, could only says that “the university is vigorously defending both cases” and that “there have been ongoing discussions between lawyers throughout the summer.”
The next step is an examination of discovery which allows the parties to examine each other’s case and clarify issues to be resolved at trial. No date has yet been determined.
Michael Dewson, v.p. of faculty and staff affairs, is spokesman for Ryerson regarding the two lawsuits and said, “We are working together with our lawyer to prepare the case.”
Dewson could not speculate on the possibility of settling the matter out of court, but he added, “We fee confident we have a very strong defence.”