Megan Thode, a graduate of Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, has filed a $1.3 million lawsuit over a C+ she received because she says it prevented her from becoming a professional counselor, the Express-Times reports.
Thode's lawsuit alleges that if not for the zero she was given in class participation for a fieldwork class in 2009, she would have gotten a B and been able to move on toward finishing her master's in counseling and human services, according to the Allentown Morning Call. Thode's lawyer, Richard J. Orloski, is alleging that his client was denied the grade because her teacher, Amanda Carr, and the then-director of the degree program, Nicholas Ladany, were unhappy about Thode's classroom behavior and her activism for LGBT rights.
Lehigh's legal team said in court that Thode showed unprofessional behavior in the classroom, including crying and swearing outbursts, the Morning Call reported.
The news of Thode's lawsuit has raised some eyebrows. The Chronicle of Higher Education gathered several reactions on Twitter, like @joethepatriotic, who said, "My bad grades should thus be worth millions."
Thode joins a growing chorus of students who have sued their alma maters in grading conflicts.
Two former Texas Southern University law students filed a lawsuit in 2012 against the university's Thurgood Marshall School of Law because they received Ds. The poor marks led to their dismissals for not maintaining 2.0 GPAs and halted their pursuit of a legal career, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Elie Mystal at Above the Law commented at the time that it was "hard to feel all that bad for kids who can’t keep their GPA over a 2.0."
In 2007, a University of Massachusetts at Amherst student sued in federal court over a C he received in a political philosophy class, according to the Boston Globe.
In Canada, a Montreal college student sued Concordia University recently for downgrading him from an A- to a B+.
Above The Law's Staci Zaretsky said Thode's Lehigh lawsuit is another case that "provides great 'I'm suing you because of my crappy grades' fodder."
Thode did graduate with a master's in human development, and is now a drug and alcohol counselor, the Morning Call reported. The $1.3 million Thode seeks is meant to compensate for what she would have made as a state-certified counselor.
"I think if your honor changed the grade, you'd be the first court in the history of jurisprudence to change an academic grade," Neil Hamburg, an attorney for Lehigh, told the judge.