Bonavito v. Harvard: The Greatest Pro Se Victory in 50 Years, Part 2
Here is a quick summary of the litigation that followed:
August 29, 2020, The Complaint was filed in the State Court of New Jersey with seven counts, including age and gender discrimination, fraud and violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
October 19, 2020, Harvard filed a “Notice to Remove.” This would remove the case from the New Jersey State Court to New Jersey District Court. The reason this was done so that the defendant could make the argument in New Jersey District Court to move the case to Massachusetts. The reason for filing the notice to remove was because there was an argument for diversity of citizenship, between New Jersey and Massachusetts.
November 9, 2020, Harvard files a Motion to Dismiss the Complaint and transfer the case to Massachusetts District Court. Along with this filing they also include several certifications and declarations in support of their motion.
The defendant argues that Massachusetts is the proper forum based on case law Jumara vs. State Farm Ins. Co., 55 F.3d 873, 879 (3d Cir. 1995). They argue that the factors weigh in favor of transferring based on analysis of private and public factors.
(Not fully realized by the plaintiff) they do this knowing that transfer would be unfair to the plaintiff since it would be impossible to receive a fair trial against Harvard in Massachusetts where they have extensive relationships with the major law firms and judges.
On November 23, 2020, the plaintiff files the opposition to their motion. In the memorandum of law, the plaintiff clearly spelled out that the vast majority of Harvard’s illegal actions took place in New Jersey and not Massachusetts. In addition, it would be unfair to have a Pro se plaintiff travel to Massachusetts to battle Harvard.
November 24, 2020, Harvard realized that the plaintiff had very strong arguments, requested an extension of time in which plaintiff consented to. The judge granted the extension request.
December 14, 2020, Harvard filed a Reply Brief. The brief included personal and confidential information taken from Harvard’s databases and transported across state lines and deposited on open websites. This personal information was private information obtained from the plaintiff’s files and resulted in extensive damage to the plaintiff. This further strengthens the plaintiff’s claim that the case should be maintained in the District Court of New Jersey and not moved to Massachusetts.
In addition to this illegal dissemination of student’s private information the brief continued to argue that the key factors favored moving the case to Massachusetts.
December 15, 2020, the plaintiff files a Sur-Reply which shows that the courses taken were hybrid courses requiring that they mainly take place in New Jersey not Massachusetts. The actual fraud where Harvard denied the plaintiff his degree happens in New Jersey online. The plaintiff demonstrated that New Jersey has both specific and general jurisdiction over the matter.
January 4, 2020, the plaintiff filed a motion to seal confidential information that Harvard had distributed throughout New Jersey. In addition, the plaintiff amended the original complaint to now include John Doe; the companies and individuals that stole the information from Harvard’s databases, transported it across state lines, and deposited it on public databases in New Jersey.
The reason for amending the complaint is that this would allow the plaintiff to fully investigate and determine the extent of the damages inflicted.
February 2, 2021, Harvard filed Opposition Papers to the plaintiff’s amended complaint and consents to the Motion to Seal the stolen information.
Harvard argued that the firms hired have litigation privileges and are able to steal information from Harvard’s database and distribute that personal information on public databases to damage the plaintiff.
February 23, 2021, the plaintiff filed a Reply Brief addressing the defendants concerns in their opposition brief.
The plaintiff argued that they are entitled to relief and discovery based on Harvard admitting that confidential information was taken from databases and to freely distributed to the public.
June 28, 2021, Federal District Court Judge Arpert issued an Order To Seal the documents that were stolen from the personal database at Harvard and transported across state lines.
June 30, 2021, Federal District Court Judge Shipp ruled in favor of the plaintiff and denied the dismissal of the case, however he did grant transfer of the case to Massachusetts.
Judge Shipp’s ruling to move the case to Massachusetts was appealed by the plaintiff to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.
An Appeal was filed by the plaintiff on June 30, 2021. The plaintiff argued that the transfer of the case from New Jew Jersey for lack of appellate jurisdiction should be reversed and the case should stay in New Jersey. The main concern of the plaintiff was that there would never be a fair and unbiased review of the litigation matter in Massachusetts.
The defendant submitted their Opposition August 12, 2021.
August 24, 2021, Appeals Court ruled that since the case has not been fully decided the plaintiff cannot appeal the ruling.
August 2021 the plaintiff wins against a powerful institution constitutes one of the greatest Pro se victories. Never before has a Pro se litigant taken on such a powerful institution and had two major decisions by federal District Court judges in their favor.
see part 2 when the case is moved to the District Court of Massachusetts and later repealed to the first circuit Court of AppealsReturn to Video Gallery