Speaking of silly lawsuits -
The C+ that Thode was given scuttled her dream of becoming a licensed professional counselor and was part of an effort to force her out of the graduate degree program she was pursuing, said her lawyer, Richard J. Orloski, whose lawsuit seeks $1.3 million in damages.
Orloski said his client is the victim of breach of contract and sexual discrimination, and a civil trial began Monday before Northampton County Judge Emil Giordano over the claims. They're nonsense, said Neil Hamburg, an attorney for Lehigh University.
Thode, the daughter of Lehigh finance professor Stephen Thode, was attending the Bethlehem school tuition-free in 2009 when she received the poor mark in her fieldwork class. But instead of working to address her failings, she "lawyered up" and demanded a better grade, Hamburg said.
"She has to get through the program. She has to meet the academic standards," Hamburg said.
Thode, 27, of Nazareth, was enrolled in the College of Education in her second and final year of a master's in counseling and human services. She needed a B to take the next course of her field work requirement.
Orloski said she would have received that grade but for the zero in classroom participation that she was awarded by her teacher, Amanda Carr. Orloski charged that Carr and Nicholas Ladany — the then-director of the degree program — conspired to hold Thode back because they were unhappy that she'd complained after she and three other students were forced to find a supplemental internship partway through the semester.
Orloski also alleged that Carr was biased against Thode because Thode advocated for gay and lesbian rights — a claim Lehigh's attorneys dismissed as baseless since Carr has a close family member who is a lesbian, and has counseled gay and lesbian people.