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September 10, 2001 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2001-09-10

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8A -The Michigan Daily - Monday, September 10, 2001


Settlement in


IX case challenged

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (U-WIRE) - Attorneys
are seeking to increase in a $700,000 judgment
against Brown University.
U.S. Magistrate Judge David Martin ruled in
August that Brown University owes more than
$1 million in legal fees to the plaintiffs in the
landmark Title IX case in 1992 that accused
the University of discriminating against female
Though the University declined to appeal the
decision, attorneys for the plaintiffs are seeking to
increase the award by as much as $500,000 when a
U.S. District Court in New Hampshire reviews the
case in coming months.
The University "had contended that about
$700,000 was the maximum amount due," said
Beverly Ledbetter, vice president and general coun-
Martin's ruling marks the beginning of the end
to the dispute over payments in the case of Cohen
vs. Brown. The legal battle over how much money
Brown owes the plaintiffs, who represented Amy
Cohen '92, nine gymnasts and three volleyball
players, for legal fees has proven almost as hard-
fought as the six-year series of trials that preceded
The attorneys for the plaintiffs have worked on
the case pro bono since they filed their suit accus-
ing Brown of discriminating against female ath-
By the summer of 1998, both sides had agreed
on a plan that would keep the proportion of female
athletes within 3.5 percent of the proportion of
women in the University's undergraduate popula-
tion. But they did not agree on the amount Brown
should pay the plaintiffs lawyers under Title IX's
fee-shifting provision.
Martin's latest decision arrived some two-and-a-
half years - and two written decisions -after the

attorneys for the plaintiffs filed their fee application
in December 1998.
In response to the application, Brown's lawyers
argued the plaintiffs' lawyers were billing too many
hours and that the University should not be charged,
for portions of the trial in which the defendants did
not prevail.
"We felt that there was a lot of duplication of
effort," Ledbetter said.
Lynnette Labinger, one of the plaintiffs lead
attorneys, said Brown's time records indicate the
University's legal teams billed about twice the
number of hours the plaintiffs' did.
Ledbetter said Brown's time records were not
comparable to those of the plaintiffs, as the Univer-
sity spent more work on statistical data, exhibits
and expert witnesses and hired their attorneys at
reduced rates. Brown has not released its actual
legal bills.
In the end, Martin rejected most of Brown's chal-
lenges to the hours billed, although he upheld a
few, notably disallowing 19 percent of the hours
requested by Arthur Bryant of the Trial Lawyers
for Public Justice, the other major attorney for the
Labinger said the plaintiffs have declined to
challenge the hours disallowed by Martin, and
instead have appealed "two very discreet aspects of
the decision."
The plaintiffs' current appeal argues the courts
are improperly adjusting for the delay of payment.
Martin's decision determines fees by charging
Brown at current rates instead of charging at the
rates of the time when services were rendered and
then calculating interest.
The court's method "may be accurate" over a
short time span, Labinger said, "but in a lengthy
period of time that is almost always an ill-matched
proxy for historic rates plus interest."


The moon illuminates the houses on South University and Washtenaw avenues Friday evening.

Columbia prof. fabricates food
poisoning complaints for study

U. Missouri eliminates
Napster-like programs

COLUMBIA, Mo. (U-WIRE) - The Infor-
mation Technology Committee at the University
of Missouri blocked several file-sharing pro-
grams the campus' nerwork last week. Programs
included in the block are Audiogalaxy, Mor-
pheus, Gnutella, iMesh and Kazaa.
"The MU Information Technology Committee
endorsed IATS' recommendation to put the block
in place," said Todd Krupa, Information and
Access Technology Services spokesman. "The
block is as permanent as the problem."
The block is in effect because of the large
amount of bandwidth used by file-sharing utili-
ties, Krupa said.
"About half of the bandwidth capacity was
used by these services during peak hours of the
days," Krupa said.
Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be

transmitted in a fixed amount of time through a
Now, the only time anyone can use a peer-to-
peer file-sharing program is from 2 to 4 a.m.
"Network traffic statistics revealed that it was
the lowest non-business use period as well as a
time when computing sites are available for use,"
Krupa said.
Blocking the programs is a matter of installing
the right software.
"A tool is attached to the network's front door,
similar to a bouncer," he said. "It checks the
nature of the data, not the content, and deter-
mines whether to let it through."
IATS is investigating hardware and software
tools that would make the use of file-sharing util-
ities possible without affecting the rest of the net-
work, Krupa said.

NEW YORK (AP) - It was the kind of
letter that causes indigestion in restaurateurs:
a customer complaining that an anniversary
dinner with his wife had left him violently ill.
In fact, it was the letter that was rotten.
A Columbia University professor, in an
unsanctioned study on how businesses handle
complaints, sent out 240 letters making a
phony food-poisoning claim to some of the
city's poshest restaurants, a university
spokesman said Saturday.
The letter caused a crisis of confidence in
kitchens across the city - from Chez
Josephine to Le Bernadin to the Mesa Grill
- until it was exposed this week as bogus.
"This was an enormous, very serious lack
of judgmetr" said Columbia spokesman Vir-
gil Renzulli.
"It was not malicious, but the professor did
not anticipate the consequences."
The brouhaha began when Frank Flynn, a

professor at the Columbia Business School,
decided to collect data for a research study on
the handling of customer complaints.
Using university letterhead, he mailed the
same letter to 240 restaurants in mid-August,
describing gastronomic distress following a
meal to celebrate his wedding anniversary.
"Our special romantic evening became
reduced to my wife watching me curl up in the
fetal position on the tiled floor of our bathroom
between rounds of throwing up," the letter read.
The reason? "Food poisoning," it conclud-
At restaurants that received the letter, chefs
and owners were sent scrambling. Receipts
and reservations were reviewed as they tried
to confirm the complaint, while the staffs
were drilled in proper techniques in food
"This could be the kiss of death for a
restaurant," said Jean-Claude Baker, owner of

Chez Josephine.
Eventually, one of the restaurants deter-
mined that the letter did not match up with its
internal paperwork. The owner wrote his own
letter - to the dean of the business school,
Meyer Feldberg.
"The dean found out Renzulli said. "On
Thursday, we messengered letters of apology
to all 240 restaurants. We've already had one-
on-one conversations with 60 of the business-
Flynn sent out another letter, on plain
paper, to "sincerely apologize for the horrible
mistake that I have made."
Flynn did not return a call for comment left
Saturday at his office.
As for Flynn's future at the school, Renzulli
said the case was turned over to an academc
review board for consideration. It was unclear
when the board might reach a final determi-
nation on the case, he said.



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