Who are we?
This website is sponsored by the Wayne State University Law School OUTlaws; the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Allies organization. The Wayne Outlaws exists to promote an inclusive, open, and supportive community at Wayne State Law School through education, collaboration, advocacy, and social programming.
Why this page is important
By posting the court documents in Hammer v. University of Michigan, this website seeks to highlight the often hidden face of LGBT discrimination in higher education. This litigation is also an important study of how private law can be used to combat LGBT discrimination. Anyone familiar with LGBT legal issues is already aware of how inadequate traditional civil rights laws are in addressing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. The current backlash against LGBT rights will make it difficult in many states to pass new public law protections. In light of this, greater use of contract law is an important frontier in fighting LGBT discrimination. The use of private law to address LGBT concerns was highlighted at the 2007 American Association of Law School’s Contract Law Section “New Frontiers in Private Ordering” podcast available here.
A simple contract claim
Hammer v. University of Michigan is a state court action advancing only private law theories. Count one is a traditional breach of contract claim, predicated on representations of non-discrimination during pre-employment negotiations, as well as University policies and by-laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual-orientation. Count Two pleads essentially the same facts in the form of an equitable claim of promissory estoppel. Count three is a defacto tenure claim, based upon the Law School’s failure to comply with University processes and notice requirements for employees who have acquired the equivalent of 8 years or more of service.
What we hope to accomplish
Consistent with our mission, this site is intended to be a forum for education and discussion. It is our hope and expectation that discussion will confirm with the norms of healthy academic discourse, based on principles of tolerance, civility, professionalism and mutual respect. Outlaws reserves the right to remove any postings inconsistent with these norms. Given the sensitivity of some of the issues involved, the site will permit responsible anonymous postings.
What is on this site
This site consists of the briefs, orders, transcripts, exhibits and affidavits filed in Hammer v. University of Michigan. All posting are publicly available court documents. As additional briefs and exhibits are filed, new postings are anticipated.
In the interests of full disclosure, readers should be aware that Professor Hammer is the faculty adviser for the Wayne Outlaws and has been since his arrival at Wayne in Fall 2003.