Kate Ernsting, represented by Royal Oak, Michigan, attorney Joseph Golden, sued Ave Maria College before the College expired and reformed as Ave Maria University in Naples, Florida.
The trial has been on going in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The issue is the firing of Ernsting, erstwhile, working as the Ave Maria College’s financial aid director. The U.S. Department of Education was conducting a federal investigation of Ave Maria College over financial aid funds. Ernsting felt she was fired because she contributed to the investigation against Ave Maria College’s wishes, although Ave Maria College claims that Ernsting was fired because of a needed layoff program that ensued because of the College’s end and movement to Florida.
The Ave Maria attorneys have motioned and delayed many times since the lawsuit was filed by Ernsting in the fall of 2004. It’s been seven years since the suit has finally come to a trial by jury which shall end this week. The Ave Maria attorneys reported to the Naples Daily News in 2007:
In 2007, college attorney Paul Fransway told the Daily News: “Kate Ernsting’s dispute with Ave Maria College emanated from the college’s decision to move its classes and educational mission to a new campus in Florida. Ms. Ernsting’s employment was terminated when the department in which she worked was eliminated as part of the planned wind-down.”
Ernsting claims that Ave Maria College told her not to talk to the Department, but she insisted that she could not do that, and as a result of cooperating with the investigation, lost her job and suffered financial and emotional distress.