Duke Law applicant does not take LSAT, sues Duke after his application is dismissed

Chronicle File Photo | Duke Law School
Chronicle File Photo | Duke Law School

Stressing out about graduate admissions tests? On Aug. 24, 2018, Edward Thomas Kennedy filed a lawsuit against Duke University School of Law for being rejected on the basis of not taking the Law School Admission Test. 

According to the complaint, Kennedy applied to at least 23 other law schools in the U.S. and thus also sued other institutions, such as Harvard University, the Law School Admissions Council, the Association of American Law Schools, the California Bar Association and the Pennsylvania Bar Association—and even U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. 

In response to Duke’s rejection, Kennedy filed his suit specifically against Duke University, the Duke Endowment and the Board of Trustees, as well as the president of the Duke Endowment and the University's President Vincent Price.

“The allegations in the complaint are not supported by the law or the facts,” wrote Michael Schoenfeld, vice president for public affairs and government relations, in an email. “We will request that the lawsuit be dismissed.”

When contacted via email, Kennedy declined to comment on the lawsuit.

Kennedy's argument in the complaint alleges the defendants “exceeded [their] jurisdiction by allowing [their] employees to deny Kennedy admission to its law schools.” He submitted the complaint with nine causes of action, including intentional infliction of emotional distress, trespass on the cause and failure to provide a republican form of government and false advertising. 

According to documentation of his legal complaint, Kennedy refused to take the Law School Admission Test administered through the Law School Admissions Council based on the assertion that “LSAT tests today are junk science and called ‘games.'" 

Without an LSAT score, Kennedy’s application was not considered for admission by the law schools to which he applied. As he wrote in his complaint, the LSAC “blocked and refused to forward Kennedy’s law school applications.” 

Duke Law did not process the application or consider Kennedy for admission because it viewed his application as incomplete, according to his complaint. 

An email from Robin Holman, assistant director of admissions for operations at Duke Law, is included in the documentation. 

"Please note that the June LSAT is the latest score that we are able to consider for applications to the 2018 entering class," Holman wrote. "Since we do not have the required LSAT score, we are withdrawing your file at this time.” 

Under the cause of action of “Failure to Provide a Republican Form of Government and False Advertising,” Kennedy wrote that the business model of Duke University, as well as those of the LSAC, the Association of American Law Schools, the Pennsylvania Bar Association, the California Bar Association and Harvard College, are "based on a foundation of deception, lies, false advertising and fraud." 

Kennedy stated in his complaint that the defendants including LSAC and admissions staff of specific institutions stole access to his private data such as school transcripts and funds from Kennedy and rejected his applications. 

For relief for the damages and harm inflicted upon him, Kennedy requested for general damages $1,000 for each day of unlawful behaviors for each defendant or $500,000 from each defendant–whichever is greater. For damages for the injury caused by defendant’s absence of required actions, Kennedy asked for $5,000 for each failure to act, or $1 million from each defendant. 

In addition, he requested that the court order the law schools to admit him tuition-free and that the Duke Endowment be investigated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission for securities fraud. 

The full complaint can be found below.


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