Temple must produce full Jones Day report

The university released an excerpt of the outside report to the public in July 2018.

Temple University has been ordered to hand over a copy of an internal investigation into the Fox School of Business rankings scandal to former dean Moshe Porat’s lawyers. Porat is suing the university for defamation. | MAKSIM BOLTON / THE TEMPLE NEWS

Temple University must turn over the full copy of an outside investigation into the Fox School of Business rankings scandal to lawyers for Moshe Porat, the former dean of the business school who is suing the university for defamation, as ordered by Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Daniel Anders on Feb. 26.

The university must also produce minutes and agendas from meetings of its Board of Trustees and Compliance Committee from January to October 2018, brochures and social media posts that refer to Temple’s rankings, and phone logs and voicemails from several Temple employees.

In turn, Porat’s lawyers must turn over communications with SRA Communications, a marketing firm, related to the lawsuit, as well as Porat’s federal and state tax returns for five years and relevant medical and psychological records.

Porat’s legal team and Ray Betzner, a spokesperson for the university declined to comment.

In January 2018, Temple announced Fox falsely reported its online MBA test scores to U.S. News and World Report, causing it to lose its No. 1 ranking. The university retained Jones Day, a law firm, to conduct an investigation into the business school’s rankings data and processes.

An excerpt from the report, released in July 2018, found from 2015-18, Fox misreported undergraduate GPAs, the number of applicants it offered admissions and how many of its entrants provided GMAT scores for several of its programs to U.S. News and World Report. 

The report alleged that Porat, who was dean from 1996 and fired in 2018, created a rankings-focused environment within Fox and disbanded a committee tasked with reviewing and approving rankings surveys in 2013. Porat also allegedly directed an employee to misreport GMAT data to U.S. News and World Report in 2015, though Porat and another employee who was present during the alleged incident denied that such direction was given, according to the report.

In May 2019, Porat announced that he was suing Temple and President Richard Englert for alleged defamatory statements included in the Jones Day excerpt and public statements the university made in the wake of the scandal, The Temple News reported.

In a July 2019 court filing, Porat’s lawyers argued that because Temple published the Jones Day excerpt to justify its firing of Porat, the full copy of the report is “highly” relevant to the case. In response, Temple’s lawyers claimed attorney-client privilege over the full copy of the report.

The judge in Porat’s case ruled on Feb. 26 that attorney-client privilege did not apply to the full copy of the report, however, Porat’s lawyers’ discovery request for communications and documents related to Jones Day’s internal investigation was denied without prejudice.

The entire discovery process is set to end by Nov. 2, according to court documents. The full Jones Day report and Porat’s medical and psychological records will not immediately be made available to the public.

Correction: A previous version of this story did not specify that Porat denied having directed an employee to falsify GMAT scores in 2015, as outlined in an excerpt from the Jones Day report.

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