Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1997-1998 index

Distributed December 31, 1997
Contact: Mark Nickel

Lack v. Klein and Brown University

All parties in Lack case agree to settlement ending legal proceedings

Adam Lack, Sara Klein and Brown University have agreed to settle a law suit in U.S. District Court arising from a University disciplinary hearing in May 1996.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Adam Lack and Sara Klein, parties to a Brown University disciplinary matter and a subsequent law suit involving the University, have resolved their differences and agreed to discontinue legal proceedings. Their settlement ends a disagreement that dates to early in 1996.

"Brown University recognizes that Mr. Lack, Ms. Klein and the University have suffered as a consequence of this case which, unfortunately, has become a subject of widespread public discussion," said Provost and Acting President James Pomerantz. "The University is pleased that Mr. Lack and Ms. Klein have put the matter behind them and will continue their work toward college degrees and very promising futures."

The case arose from an incident in early February 1996, when Lack and Klein met and spent the night together. The matter came before the University Disciplinary Council, which found Lack in violation of Brown's sexual misconduct code. Lack appealed to Provost Pomerantz, who overturned the UDC's finding of "sexual misconduct" but found Lack to be in violation of the "flagrant disrespect" provision of the disciplinary code.

By then, however, Lack's name and photograph had been published in an independent student newspaper, and reports and commentary soon appeared in a national publication. Ultimately, the story was broadcast by ABC's news magazine, 20/20. Lack sued in U.S. District Court, charging Klein with libel and charging Brown with breach of contract and reverse gender discrimination.

Brown University regrets that its disciplinary system was unable to resolve the dispute between the parties satisfactorily. According to Provost Pomerantz, Mr. Lack has been removed from probation and is a student in good standing.

Victor A. Kovner, Ms. Klein's attorney, said, "Sara and her family are pleased that this dispute has been resolved. Sara does, however, regret having engaged in excessive drinking on the night of February 3, 1996, and in retrospect she understands that, at the time she met Mr. Lack, he may not have perceived her as impaired."

David Casey, attorney for Mr. Lack, said, "Adam is very pleased that this matter has been resolved constructively."

The University supports the resolution of this matter and will honor the parties' request that there be no further public comment.