Doe v. Trustees of Boston College, No. 19-1871 (1st Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The First Circuit reversed the judgment of the district court granting a preliminary injunction prohibiting the Trustees of Boston College (BC) from imposing a suspension of one year on John Doe, a student, who was found to have engaged in the sexual assault of a female student, holding that the district court erred in finding a probability of success as to Doe's claim under Massachusetts contract law.
The suspension decision in this case was the outcome of a disciplinary complaint filed against Doe, and the suspension decision was the outcome of the procedures set forth in BC's student sexual misconduct policy. In issuing the preliminary injunction the district court found Doe had shown a probability of success on the merits of the state law claim of violation of a contractual obligation of basic fairness. The First Circuit vacated the injunction, holding (1) to the extent the district court was attempting to base its ruling on a prediction of future developments in Massachusetts contract law, the court erred; and (2) where current Massachusetts law does not require the college discipline process Doe argues must be a part of a contractual obligation of basic fairness the court erred in granting the injunction.