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CARLISLE, PA. AP, May 20, 2005 — Penn State University might have used heavy-handed tactics in getting its law school's governing board into accepting a second campus but it didn't do anything illegal, a judge ruled Thursday.
Cumberland County Judge Edward E. Guido dismissed the case against Penn State brought by three Dickinson Law School board members trying to stop Penn State from building a second law school at its main campus in State College.
However, the judge did not dismiss the three board members' suit against the board and its chairman, H. Laddie Montague. A hearing on that lawsuit will continue.
The plaintiffs — Leslie Anne Miller, Gov. Ed Rendell's former general counsel; her father, attorney G. Thomas Miller; and emeritus board member Tom Monteverde — were among those who dissented when Dickinson's board voted 17-14 to accept Penn State's proposal on Jan. 15.
The trio sued, arguing that the proposal would allow Penn State to eventually close the original campus.
Penn State and Dickinson Law School merged beginning in 1997, and the lawsuit alleged the two-campus plan would "unilaterally terminate" an agreement that required Penn State to keep the law school permanently in Carlisle. The merger was completed in 2000.
"We're obviously pleased that the judge ruled in our favor," said Rodney Erickson, Penn State's executive vice president and provost. "We have a plan that ... makes an unprecedented investment in The Dickinson School of Law. Our goal is to move Dickinson into the top tier."
John Stoviak, the plaintiffs' attorney, did not immediately return a phone call by The Associated Press left at his office after business hours Thursday.
Approved in January, the two-campus plan called for Penn State to keep the Carlisle campus open for at least 10 years while it develops the State College campus. More recently, Rendell negotiated an agreement with Penn State that would increase the university's commitment to Carlisle to at least 20 years in exchange for up to $25 million in state funding for renovating and expanding the Carlisle campus.