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UCLA lecturer’s lawsuit will go to trial following tentative ruling on motions

Pictured is the UCLA Anderson School of Management. UCLA lecturer Gordon Klein’s lawsuit against the UC Regents and Dean Antonio Bernardo will go to trial next year. (Daily Bruin file photo)

By Rio Wakura and Saumya Gupta

April 14, 2022 8:18 p.m.

This post was updated April 17 at 10:23 p.m.

A UCLA lecturer’s lawsuit against UCLA and University of California administrators will go to trial, according to a court ruling.

In September, Gordon Klein filed a lawsuit against UCLA Anderson School of Management Dean Antonio Bernardo and the UC Board of Regents alleging that the defendants breached his employment contract, violated his right to privacy, retaliated against him and acted with negligent interference.

UCLA placed Klein on administrative leave in June 2020 after Klein sent an email to a student denying their request for grading accommodations for Black students during nationwide protests against police brutality. He was reinstated in September 2020.

[Related: Students sign petition to fire UCLA lecturer after many find his email insensitive]

The Santa Monica Courthouse partially sustained two motions from the regents and Bernardo on March 30 to dismiss Klein’s lawsuit.

In November 2021, the defendants filed a motion to dismiss Klein’s complaints about exercising the First Amendment, according to the California Anti-SLAPP Project.

The regents and Bernardo also filed a legal objection later in November, which asserts that the lawsuit has no legal basis, according to Cornell University’s Legal Information Institute.

“Motions challenging the pleadings are routine courtroom proceedings to remove improper matters from a case at the outset,” said UCLA spokesperson Bill Kisliuk in an emailed statement.

On March 30, the court adopted a tentative ruling on the motions, dismissing some of Klein’s allegations and causes of action but allowing others to proceed to trial.

Some of Klein’s allegations that will proceed include one of the regents retaliating against Klein by placing him on administrative leave, among other actions, and one that Bernardo’s actions allegedly painted Klein in an offensive light.

Klein said that despite some claims being dismissed, he believes the core of his claims still remains to be addressed.

The court has not made any rulings on the merits of the preceding claims, Kisliuk said in the emailed statement. He added that UCLA expects the case will move forward with court filings and hearings.

After the judge signs a final order, both sides will have the opportunity to gather evidence and question witnesses in preparation for a future trial, said Steven Goldberg, a lawyer representing Klein.

A jury trial is scheduled for April 17, 2023.

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Rio Wakura
Wakura is a features contributor. She is a first-year economics student at UCLA.
Wakura is a features contributor. She is a first-year economics student at UCLA.
Saumya Gupta | News senior staff
Gupta was the 2020-2021 assistant News editor for the national news and higher education beat. She was previously a contributor for the beat. She is also a fourth-year psychology student.
Gupta was the 2020-2021 assistant News editor for the national news and higher education beat. She was previously a contributor for the beat. She is also a fourth-year psychology student.
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