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Nov 15, 2018
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Fresno State. (Larry Valenzuela)

CSU asks court to dismiss public records lawsuit by Fresno State professors

The California State University system recently asked Fresno judge Rosemary McGuire to dismiss a public records act lawsuit filed by two Craig School of Business professors in May.

In an August court filing, CSU attorney Katherine A. Winder asked that the lawsuit filed by Dr. Denise Patterson and Dr. Susan Geringer be dismissed because the records involved were protected from disclosure. Winder said the documents were “student educational records” covered by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).

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Winder said the records also were exempted from disclosure under California law since they were protected by FERPA.

Patterson and Geringer filed the lawsuit in late May after Fresno State released heavily redacted records to them the month before. The professors had requested the titles of all MBA and eMBA student projects between Aug. 1, 2013, and Mar. 1, 2018; the student names for each project; and the full names of each full-time, part-time or retired faculty member mentoring each project.

The released records had the project titles and student names redacted. They were also incomplete. And they only covered the time period between Aug. 1, 2013, and May 11, 2016, according to the complaint.

Winder said Patterson and Geringer had failed to state a cause of action and that if the lawsuit was successful, it would cause a violation of duties by the CSU. She requested the writ be denied, the case be dismissed and the CSU be awarded its court costs, including attorney fees and sanctions, against Patterson and Geringer.

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