PHILADELPHIA – A Moorestown man and former Drexel University professor who alleged the school engaged in breach of contract and other offenses when it terminated him has had his case transferred from federal court in New Jersey to Pennsylvania.

On Nov. 18, Judge Renee Marie Bumb of the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey ordered the transfer of plaintiff Patrick Craven’s litigation to U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

On Aug. 8, Craven filed suit in the Superior Court of New Jersey located in Burlington County, against Applied Informatics Group (AIG), Drexel University College of Computing and Informatics, Drexel University, plus an unknown number of John Doe defendants and fictitious entities. The case was initially removed to the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey, before its later reassignment to federal court in Pennsylvania.

Prior to Feb. 5, 2015, Craven joined AIG at the College and on the aforementioned date was offered a two year-long, non-tenure track professorial position, with a contract set to expire on Jan. 31, 2017. Along with benefits, the position came with an annual salary of $125,000 to be paid in monthly installments.

According to the complaint, Craven’s responsibilities included: “Proposal development and execution; team building; and organizing and writing presentations for business pursuits with a focus on cognitive systems, including applications of those systems in life science, brain science, medical informatics, defense, intelligence, cyber-security and the like”, among other duties.

Per the terms of his contract, Craven was expected to bring in 200 percent of his salary as income to Drexel University, through billable hours on projects, budget offsets, indirects and Ph.D support.

Also per the complaint, Craven’s employment was also partially supported by external funds and dependent on the continued disbursement of those funds.

Though providing good performance in his work, Craven says Drexel University abruptly terminated him on May 22, 2015, effective June 1, 2015. Following complaints from AIG customers, the termination date was extended to June 30, 2015.

Craven believes the defendants’ actions constituted actual breach of the material terms of the contract, anticipatory breach of contract and violation of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing, all of which the plaintiff says caused monetary damages.

The plaintiff alleges claims in the way of breach of contract and anticipatory breach, plus breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.

The plaintiff seeks a trial by jury, judgment against the defendants, jointly, severally and in the alternative, awarding compensatory damages, punitive damages, all available equitable relief, attorney’s fees and costs, plus pre- and post-judgment interest.

The plaintiff is represented by Robert J. Hagerty of Hagerty & Bland-Tull Law, in Moorestown, N.J.

The defendants are represented by Lisa Michelle Koblin and Joseph J. Centeno of Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel, in Philadelphia.

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania case 2:16-cv-05975

U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey case 1:16-cv-06912

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at nickpennrecord@gmail.com

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