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Lawsuit filed over memo

November 11, 1997

Lawsuit filed over memo

By CLYDE FORD

Staff Writer, Charles Town

CHARLES TOWN, W.Va. - A Shepherd College professor has filed a lawsuit in Jefferson County Circuit Court against another Shepherd College instructor over a memo written about her.

Joyce Webb, an associate professor of communications, is seeking $100,000 in punitive and compensatory damages against Farrell Coy, chairman of the Shepherd College Division of Arts and Humanities.

Webb was the chairwoman of the communications department until November 1996, according to the lawsuit filed Nov. 5.

"In order to justify seizing control of the department of communications, Farrell Coy, in a memo written and published by him in November 1996, recklessly, maliciously or intentionally defamed Webb," the lawsuit alleges.

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Coy would not comment on the lawsuit Monday.

The lawsuit does not describe what Coy wrote in the memo.

Webb could not be reached for comment and her attorney, Lawrence Schultz, did not return phone calls.

The lawsuit alleges that Coy published the memo in bad faith, causing damage to Webb's reputation.

Shepherd College history professor Anders Henriksson said department chairs are elected by the faculty, but serve at the will of the college administration, which includes the division chair.

As a department chair in the arts and humanities division, Webb would have been under Coy's supervision, Henriksson said. The history department also falls under the arts and humanities division, he said.

Henriksson said he did not believe the problems between the two had caused any problems for the students or split the faculty.

Shepherd College President David Dunlop said he heard about the lawsuit Monday, but had not seen it. He said he would not comment on the lawsuit until he confers with the college's attorney.

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