Laurel Pyke Malson is a partner in Crowell & Moring's D.C.-based Commercial Litigation Group and co-chairs the firm's Education Practice. She focuses on international and governmental litigation; complex commercial, class action, and administrative litigation; and compliance counseling and litigation involving educational institutions. She routinely counsels foreign and domestic clients regarding litigation risk management in the U.S. federal and state courts; and has litigated extensively under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, the International Claims Settlement Act, and other "public law" provisions where foreign and U.S. government, and related entities, are involved. She also has litigated numerous class-actions under, e.g., the Equal Educational Opportunities Act, the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act, state consumer fraud provisions, and matters involving academic misconduct allegations, in addition to a broad range of business and individual torts, including civil rights and constitutional violations. In addition, Ms. Malson has counseled and litigated on behalf of a variety of public and private entities, including public school systems (and public charters) and universities, academic medical centers and other health care providers, and professional and trade associations. She also serves as a mediator in a wide range of disputes, with a focus on commercial and employment matters.
Recent key representations include: counseling universities on Title IX compliance; advising state university regarding tuition benefits for undocumented students; advocating for victims of Libyan State-sponsored terrorism before the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the United States; defending a large urban public school system in class action and U.S. enforcement action involving English Language Learners, under Title VI and the Equal Educational Opportunities Act; defending the District of Columbia Public Schools in a major class action under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act; defending the American Psychiatric Association in the Ritalin and ECT consumer fraud class action litigations in multiple state and federal jurisdictions; and representing a class of thousands of African American farmers against the U.S. Department of Agriculture to redress claims of race discrimination in federal farm loan credit transactions. She also is a key member of the team that secured a $6 billion judgment on behalf of the estates and family members of seven U.S. nationals that perished, and the U.S. owner of the aircraft that was destroyed, in the 1989 bombing of UTA Flight 772 over the Sahara Desert. (Pugh v. Libya, Case No. 02-2026 (D.D.C.))
Ms. Malson is a Mediator for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, and she chaired the Committee on Grievances for the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia from 2001 to 2004.
Before entering private practice in 1985, Ms. Malson served in the Office of Legal Counsel of the U.S. Department of Justice for four years, where she was responsible for a broad range of constitutional and federal statutory matters. Ms. Malson clerked for the Honorable Harry T. Edwards on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit (1980-1981) and the Hon. Damon J. Keith on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (1979-1980). She received her J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1979, and her B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1976.
Professional Activities and Memberships
National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA)
International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) -- Executive Advisory Committee (CPR)
Winner, 2010 CPR's Award for Outstanding Contribution to Diversity
Co-Chair, National Task Force on Diversity (CPR)
U.S. District Court, District of Columbia -- Panel of Mediators
U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia Committee on Grievances, Chair, 2001-2004
District of Columbia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, Board of Directors, 1994-1998
D.C. Circuit Advisory Committee on Procedures, 1986-1991
American Bar Association -- International Law Section; Litigation Section
- Congress of Hispanic Educators v. Denver Public Schools v. The United States of America, No. 95-cv-02313-RPM(D.Co.) (Class action involving provision of educational services to English Language Learners).
- Claim of Donna Marlowe, Foreign Claims Settlement Commission of the U.S., Libya Program ($3 million award).
- In re Black Farmers Discrimination Litigation, No. 08-mc-511 (D.D.C.) (Class action discrimination in USDA farm loan program resulting in $1.25 billion settlement)
- Pugh v. Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya , et al. (D.D.C) (awarded $6.1 billion judgment, January 24, 2008); Pugh v. Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya , et al., No. 02-2026 (D.D.C. Sept. 3, 2006) aff'd, No. 06-7167 (DC Cir. April 8, 2007) (unpublished order granting summary affirmance)
- Smith v. Hope Village, Inc., 481 F.Supp. 172 (D.D.C. 2007) (wrongful death action against U.S. Bureau of Prisons and contracting halfway house)
- Petties v. District of Columbia, (1:95-CV-00148) (class action under IDEA for educational and related services)
- Fair-Gray v. United States, Case No. 03-01372 (D.D.C.) (FTCA wrongful death claim arising from automobile accident with USAID employee in Kenya)