Hogan Lovells Wins Victory in Newcomb College Case On Behalf of Tulane University in New Orleans
04 March 2011
NEW YORK, 4 March, 2011 – Hogan Lovells successfully defended Tulane University in an appeal before the Louisiana Supreme Court seeking to force the school to maintain a women-only college within the University.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans and resulted in the temporary closing of Tulane, the University implemented a renewal plan to re-establish Tulane as a world-class research and teaching institution. In the renewal plan, Tulane consolidated all of its undergraduate colleges, including the former H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College for women, to create a single Newcomb-Tulane College for undergraduates.
A descendent of Josephine Newcomb claimed that Newcomb's will imposed conditions on Tulane that required the university to maintain Newcomb College in perpetuity. In August 2009 the Civil District Court for the Parish of New Orleans found that Newcomb's will did not impose any enforceable conditions and dismissed the action. In October 2010 the Louisiana 4th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court's findings.
According to Brian Black, a partner in the New York office of Hogan Lovells US LLP who represented Tulane University in this case: "We're pleased the Supreme Court let stand the lower courts' finding that Mrs. Newcomb intended to give Tulane University an unconditional gift. This represents the end of a series of lawsuits concerning Newcomb College that started in March 2006. Tulane is strongly committed to the education of undergraduate women. That commitment did not waver after the devastation that the University endured following Hurricane Katrina, and the programming for undergraduate women has expanded under the auspices of the H. Sophie Newcomb Memorial College Institute. Tulane has honored the memory of Mrs. Newcomb and her daughter Sophie in every sense."
Black and Hogan Lovells partner Dennis Tracey led the team representing Tulane, along with associate Andrew Sein and former associate Anna MacCormack.