Judge reaches mixed decision on Landa lawsuit


A motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought by former University of Maryland Professor Melissa Landa, who alleges that the school chose not to renew her contract due to her pro-Israel views, has been partly granted and partly denied, according to new documents.

Melissa Landa (Photo courtesy of Oberlin College)

Landa was a professor at the University of Maryland from 2007 until 2017, when the school declined to renew her contract. Afterwards, Landa “touched off a small firestorm when she publicly alleged that administrators stripped her of responsibility and ultimately dismissed her because of her pro-Israel politics,” the Washington Jewish Week reported that year.

Landa later filed a lawsuit against the university under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, according to documents provided by the University of Maryland’s Thurgood Marshall Law Library. In a complaint that Landa later amended, she alleges that “she faced religious discrimination, a hostile work [environment], and retaliatory termination for engaging in protected activity under Title VII.”

In its motion to dismiss part of Landa’s suit, the university contended that Landa’s claims of religious discrimination and retaliation by the university that allegedly took place before March 29, 2017, were not filed in time, and that her claims concerning a hostile work environment should be dismissed.

Magistrate Judge Timothy J. Sullivan decided to dismiss allegations of antisemitism made by Landa against the university that allegedly took place before March 29, 2017. He declined to dismiss alleged antisemitic acts that Landa claims took place after that date.

“If Dr. Landa has asserted any claims of discrimination or retaliation that are based solely on acts that occurred before March 29, 2017, and that are not part of her hostile work [environment] claims, those claims will be dismissed with prejudice,” Sullivan wrote. “Otherwise, the Motion is denied.”

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