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Theidon v. Harvard University

United States District Court, D. Massachusetts

May 30, 2017

KIMBERLY THEIDON, Plaintiff,
v.
HARVARD UNIVERSITY, and the PRESIDENT AND FELLOWS OF HARVARD COLLEGE, Defendants.

          ORDER ON PLAINTIFF'S MOTION FOR PROTECTIVE ORDER (DOC. NO. 135)

          LEO T. SOROKIN UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         On May 3, 2017, the Court ordered Kimberly Theidon to turn over her notes of a meeting with Jorge Dominguez. Doc. No. 129. Thereafter, Theidon filed a Motion for a Protective Order, Doc. No. 135, stating that her only record of the meeting was in correspondence with her counsel. Defendants Harvard University and the President and Fellows of Harvard College (collectively, Harvard) opposed the motion. Doc. No. 140.

         The following facts are before the Court. By February, 2013, while Harvard was considering Theidon's application for tenure, Theidon began taking notes of at least some meetings with Harvard officials to create “a paper trail.” Doc. No. 140-8 at 2; see Doc. No. 1 at 3. On May 28, 2013, Harvard rejected Theidon's application for tenure. On June 10, 2013, Theidon met with Senior Vice Provost Judith Singer; they discussed the tenure decision. Theidon memorialized her recollection of the meeting in a set of extensive typed notes. Doc. No. 140-6, 140-7. The day of this meeting, Theidon emailed a copy of the notes to another person asking for his thoughts. Several days later, on June 14, she emailed a slightly edited version of the notes to a number of other people. Id.

         On July 2, 2013, Theidon met with Dominguez; they discussed the tenure decision. Doc. No. 140-2 at 3. At Theidon's deposition, the following exchange occurred:

Q. In the course of that meeting, did you tell Professor Dominguez, in words or substance, I do what I like to do?
A. No, I didn't. I remember-I mean, I know when I read that in the documents, I thought, what an odd statement. It's so tepid. First, it would be obstinate, which I'm not, and then the other-I would never say that. It's such a tepid statement. I would say I love what I do. Anyone who knows me, knows I love it.
I never said that to him, nor did I say other things that he ascribes to me in my notes. My notes from that meeting look very different, sir.
Q. Do you have notes for those meetings?
A. Yes, I do. Where he told me not to file a grievance, not to pursue a suit, not to set precedent, to go to Judith Singer, see if they'd forgive my mortgage and solve it all with a handshake.
Q. Can you explain why those notes have not been produced in this litigation?
A. I don't know. Aren't they-I think they must be on my computer that you have. They have to be, I think.
Q. Do you know that you received a document request in this case?
A. Yes. And I thought I produced everything, and I think I had written notes. I know, in going back and thinking of what happened, I found notes, I believe. They must be on the computer. I don't know. I don't have that computer anymore. I thought ...

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