Thursday, June 2, 2005
Promissory estoppel was a loser for a non-tenured medical school professor fired from his job in a recent decision by the Ohio Court of Appeals. Even if the professor relied on his supervisor's promise, it could not bind the Medical College.
In the case, Dr. Jacobson taught gynecology in a series of one-year contracts with the Medical College of Ohio. When his contract was not renewed, he discussed with his superior, Dr. Weinstein, the possibility of taking his accumulated vacation and sick time as "terminal leave." Weinstein agreed.
Even assuming that Jacobson relied on Weinstein's agreement, however, he loses, said the court. It is not reasonable to rely on a promise that is prohibited by law, and Ohio law vests all authority over professorial compensation in the Board of Trustees. Thus, Jacobson had no claim against the Medical College.
Jacobson v. Medical College of Ohio, 2005 Ohio App. LEXIS 2425 (Ct. App. Ohio, May 24, 2005).