Can I sue my University because I lost a job offer due to their inability to replace graduation documentation, which was lost in a fire, in a timely manner?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Can I sue my University because I lost a job offer due to their inability to replace graduation documentation, which was lost in a fire, in a timely manner?

I live in Vienna, Austria. I am an expat American with permanent residence
status here. I graduated from Virginia State University in Petersburg, VA in
1985. In January 2016, I requested a replacement my Diploma as that would be
required for a teaching position with a quasi-governmental organization working
for the Austrian National Office of Unemployment. Online the stated it could
take up to 45 days. In April 2016 I applied for and was offered a job teaching
with the organization, dependent upon providing transcripts, Diploma etc. I
knew everything would be fine because 45 days had passed and surely my diploma
was on the way. Silly me. I called to make sure and nobody knew anything
about my diploma request. After a few minutes of searching, they found it –
NOTHING had been done. I have been desperately trying to get them to understand
the dire consequences not having this document would have on my life I am a 56
y/o African-American living in a country where a Fascist party was just barely
defeated in a Presidential election and job opportunities are rare for such
foreigners as me. This job could have very well carried me into retirement,
but now I am unemployed and on the dole. Very shaming and uncomfortable and a
source of incredible personal and professional damages. I wish to seek
recompense, penalize them and get those clowns on the ball so this won’t happen
to others. The incompetence shown is breathtaking This is a circumstance I
wouldn’t wish on an enemy, much less an alumnus of my school

Asked on May 27, 2016 under Business Law, Maryland


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 6 years ago | Contributor

After 31 years, it is far too late to sue the university: the law does not let you sue or bring legal actions forever. Rather, for every type of legal action, there is a "statute of limitations," or time period within which you must sue. If you don't take action within that time period, you are barred from taking action. The relevant statute of limitations in Maryland would be  for a contractual breach--violation of obligations under the agreement pursuant to which you went to school there--which in no circumstances, even for a written agreement, is more than 12 years. So after 31 years, they are not liable for not keeping  or providing a copy of your documentation; too much time has passed.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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