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Can I sue my college for emotional distress if their administrative negligence led to my not being able to graduate?

Atlanta, GA |

I have been cleared to graduate since october of 2012. All of a sudden by chance, I discover that the school had not submitted my graduation application, nor had they accepted a large portion of the credits i needed (a full semester's worth) that should have been filed in 2012. To which I have proof. Now I have not been able to order my diploma, my cap and gown, or my graduation tickets and I have job offers that I will not be able to take if the school does not graduate me. I am under an extreme amount of stress. Can I sue my school for this?

Also I would like to make a point that if I had not stumbled across this information I would have never known.

Attorney Answers 8


  1. Yes, possibly. Intentional or Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress are tricky legal avenues to travel. You'd want to get that case to a jury and let them make the decision. It's also possible that the college may entertain a settlement offer at some point. In order to bolster the case, though, you'll need very very good proof - both proof of your damages (ie: how you were harmed) and of their negligence.


  2. Sorry to hear about your situation. Saying you are under stress and actually being diagnosed and treated are two entirely different things. If you are not treating with a mental health professional you will never be able to make any claim for damages.

    That said, right now no one knows if you will graduate, if you lose you r job offers, etc… so it is too early to tell if you have any claims. Also, depending on whether your college is a state college or a private one will further affect your ability to seek a recovery.

    You need to talk this over with a local attorney ASAP and try to get things straightened out.

    Good luck.

    DISCLAIMER: David J. McCormick is licensed to practice law in the State of Wisconsin and this answer is being provided for informational purposes only because the laws of your jurisdiction may differ. This answer based on general legal principles and is not intended for the purpose of providing specific legal advice or opinions. Under no circumstances does this answer constitute the establishment of an attorney-client relationship.


  3. You've posted this on multiple internet sites and the answer won't change with each posting. As you read previously, Georgia doesn't permit suits for stress (with no physical injury).

    To quote an answer you already received elsewhere:

    "You can sue for anything. However, if your suit says what you said in your post, expect that your case would be dismissed, and that you would likely be ordered to pay court costs and the school's legal fees for something that frivolous."

    If you find this answer helpful, please mark it here on AVVO as helpful. In answering you, I am attempting to communicate general legal information and am not representing you (and am not your lawyer). Do feel free to call me at 404-768-3509 if you wish to discuss actual representation (the phone call also does not retain counsel; that requires an office visit and appropriate paperwork). In that a forum such as this provides me with limited details and doesn't allow me to review details and documents, it is possible that answers here, while meant to be helpful, may in some cases not be complete or accurate, and I highly recommend that you retain legal counsel rather than rely on the answers here. (You can also email my office at geaatl@msn.com . An email also does not retain my office, but can help you get an appointment set if you prefer not to call). I am happy to discuss possible representation with you. Any information in this communication is for discussion purposes only, and is not offered as legal advice. There is no right to rely on the information contained in this communication and no attorney-client relationship is formed. Nothing in my answer should be considered as tax-advice. To ensure compliance with IRS Circular 230, any U.S. federal tax advice provided in this communication is not intended or written to be used, and it cannot be used by the recipient or any other taxpayer (i) for the purpose of avoiding tax penalties that may be imposed on the recipient or any other taxpayer, or (ii) in promoting, marketing or recommending to another party a partnership or other entity, investment plan, arrangement or other transaction addressed herein. I am also required to advise you, if your question concerns bankruptcy, that the U.S. Congress has designated Ashman Law Office as a debt relief agency that can help people file bankruptcy.


  4. For administrative mistakes, no. You would basically have to show they somehow intentionally targeted you. Then you would have to prove damages, such as medical expenses for significant physical problems associated with the "distress," and so on. Suffice it to say that you would have a really hard time meeting the burdens because a college screwed up your file. Rarely will stress from that give rise to an emotional distress claim and big check. A school is highly unlikely to write a "nuisance" check. That is not saying there are not lawyers out there who would offer to pursue it, and whether you want to start your working career pursuing a claim like that is another issue.


  5. That's a good question. The answer is maybe. I would need to know more & am happy to speak with you. The other attorney's on this forum are rock stars, so either way, you should speak to someone & congrats on your educational accomplishments!

    Sam Levine, Esq.
    (404) 303-8875


  6. Duplicate post. Call one of the lawyers above in your state to discuss in full.


  7. No. You cannot sue your school for emotional distress.

    Georgia follows the impact rule for negligent infliction of emotional distress. That means that you can only sue for mental distress damages if your mental distress flows from an actual physical injury or impact.

    Sorry about your situation. Best of luck.

    Answering questions does not create an attorney/client relationship. I only am your attorney if I have entered into a written contract, signed by me, wherein I expressly assent to be your attorney. Nothing I post should be construed as legal advice to be acted upon, it is merely a legal opinion.


  8. See the previous atty.'s answers regarding the viability of such a suit. It is not viable, however, you might contact college accreditation
    agencies for advice.

    Disclaimer: This response is provided to you for educational and informational purposes only and no attorney-client relationship has been created hereby. Other attorneys may have different opinions or responses. If you found this response helpful, please indicate Best Answer to Avvo. Thank you.

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