A judge rejected Temple University’s efforts to dismiss a part of a defamation lawsuit earlier this month filed by Moshe Porat, the former dean of the Fox School of Business.
Temple asked the court to dismiss one count of defamation which alleged the university wrote that Porat was directly involved in the falsification of rankings data, Tom Clare, Porat’s lawyer, said.
Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas Judge Arnold News’ ruling came on July 3, and he declined to hear arguments related to Temple’s attempted dismissal and did not explain his decision, Clare said.
The move will allow Porat to continue with both counts of defamation alleged by the lawsuit. The next hearing is scheduled on August 26.
“We’re very happy with the court’s ruling, and we’re looking forward to the case going forward,” Clare said. “We’re going into discovery process to get documents from Temple and put people under oath about these defamatory statements.”
Porat filed the $25 million defamation lawsuit against Temple and President Richard Englert in May in the wake of the business school’s rankings scandal. The university fired Porat after he refused to resign after the school falsified its rankings to U.S. News and World Report.
“The administration at Temple took away the job I loved, damaged my health, and destroyed my reputation and the legacy of my life’s work I spent decades building,” Porat said in a statement posted to his law firm, Clare Locke LLP.’s website, The Temple News reported in May.
In the lawsuit, Porat accuses the university of reputational damages from alleged defamatory statements the university made in its public statements regarding the rankings scandal.
An investigation by Jones Day, an international law firm, found that Fox submitted false data from its online MBA program to maintain its No. 1 ranking in U.S. News and World Report.
Fox had overstated GPA and enrollment data, the report found, which triggered investigations from the U.S. Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Attorney General’s Office.
The school was ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News for four consecutive years before the scandal erupted.
Temple does not comment on ongoing litigation but intends to defend the matter vigorously, Christopher Vito, a university spokesperson, wrote in an email to The Temple News.
The ruling on July 3 was not made public until recently due to technical issues which have affected Philadelphia’s electronic court records system, Clare said.
Colin Evans contributed reporting.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article inaccurately cited information from the Jones Day report.