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Suhail v. University of Cumberlands

United States District Court, E.D. Kentucky, Southern Division, London

May 28, 2015

DR. SAMEER SUHAIL and DR. OMAR SUHAIL, Plaintiffs,
v.
UNIVERSITY OF THE CUMBERLANDS, Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION & ORDER

GREGORY F. VAN TATENHOVE, District Judge.

The University of the Cumberlands, a private University located in Williamsburg, Kentucky, recently developed a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Program. [R. 1 at 2.] The Plaintiffs, brothers Omar and Sameer Suhail, were students in the program's inaugural class and now sue the University for changes made to the program's curriculum subsequent to their enrollment. This matter is before the Court on the parties' cross motions for Summary Judgment. For the reasons that follow, each of the parties' motions will be DENIED in PART and GRANTED in PART.

I

In 2009, Dr. Peter Geissler pitched the "idea of blending a medical model and a clinical model in a Ph.D. in clinical psychology" to the University of Cumberland's leadership.[1] [R. 44-4 at 8.] The leadership at the University were intrigued by the idea and Dr. Geissler and two other faculty members began designing a Clinical Psychology Ph.D. program. [R. 44-1; R. 44-4 at 8.] Ultimately, Dr. Geissler was chosen to lead the new program, and in May 2011, he sent a solicitation email to students attending St. Christopher's College of Medicine, in Cambridge, England, where he had served as chancellor between 2000-2002. [R. 1 at ¶ 8; R. 44-5 at 20.] On the recommendation of a former colleague, and as a "recruiter acting for and on behalf of the University of the Cumberlands, " Geissler directly recruited Doctors Sameer and Omar Suhail. [R. 44-5 at 21.] Succeeding in his efforts, the Suhail brothers enrolled in the program at the University of the Cumberlands in the summer of 2011. [R. 1 at ¶ 2-3.] In addition to bringing them in as students, Dr. Geissler also offered Dr. Sameer Suhail positions as both Clinical Director and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, with the expectation that he would commence his work in those roles in August 2012. [R. 1 at ¶ 64-73; R. 43-15; R. 43-16.] Dr. Sameer Suhail promptly accepted the offer of employment. [R. 43-17.]

At the time of their enrollment, the Clinical Psychology program requirements were outlined in the University's 2011-2012 Course Catalog. [R. 1 at ¶ 3; R. 1-3.] The catalog represented that "the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology degree program offered by University should fulfill the educational requirements for licensure in 37 states or jurisdictions, " [R. 1-3 at 19 (emphasis added)] one of which was Kentucky:

States for Which Program Fulfills Educational Licensure Requirements

Based upon a review of state law and licensure regulations, the Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology degree program offered by University of the Cumberlands should fulfill the educational requirements for licensure in 37 states or jurisdictions. Additional information on sate requirements may be found on the ASPPB website, See the state requirements link on the homepage at http://www.asppb.net or review the Jurisdictional Handbooks available at http://www.asppb.org//HandbookPublic/HandbookReview.aspx.

The Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology degree program offered by University of the Cumberlands should fulfill the educational licensure requirements in these states or jurisdictions:

1. Alabama

2. Arizona

3. Arkansas

4. California

5. Colorado

6. Connecticut

7. Delaware

8. District of Columbia

9. Hawaii

10. Idaho

11. Indiana

12. Iowa

13. Kansas

14. Kentucky

15. Louisiana

16. Maryland

17. Massachusetts

18. Michigan

19. Montana

20. New Hampshire

21. New Jersey

22. New Mexico

23. New York

24. North Carolina

25. North Dakota

26. Ohio

27. Oregon

28. Pennsylvania

29. South Carolina

30. South ...


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