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Measure of damages for improperly dismissing a medical student from school - Sharick v. Southeastern University of the Health Science, Inc., No. 3D98-2674 (Fla.App. 08/02/2000)

This case deals with the standard for damages when a student is improperly dismissed from a medical school.  Plaintiff was in the last semester of his fourth year of osteopathy school.  He failed a required rural rotation in general medicine and was dismissed from the program.  After unsuccessfully appealing within the University he brought this action.  The court dismissed all his claims except for breach of implied contract, and limited the instruction on damages to a refund of this tuition.  The jury found that the decision to dismiss him was arbitrary, capricious, and/or lacking any discernable rational basis, and awarded a partial reimbursement of the tuition paid to defendant.  Plaintiff appealed, claiming that he should have been able to recover potential lost wages resulting from his failure to get his degree.  The appeals court reversed the trial court's ruling as to damages and remanded for a new trial with instructions to allow plaintiff to put on evidence of the extent of lost wages he would suffer and whether he could mitigate by being admitted to another school.  Interestingly, the defendant did not appeal from the jury's finding and there is no information in the case as to why the court did not find defendant enjoyed the usual degree of freedom in applying academic standards.

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