lawsuit

In a recent civil rights lawsuit, the son of legendary Penn State football coach Joe Paterno, along with a fellow former assistant coach, claim their reputations were “destroyed” when the school fired them during the sordid Jerry Sandusky investigation.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reports:

In the civil rights suit, filed Monday in federal court in Philadelphia, Joseph “Jay” Paterno and Bill Kenney say they suffered collateral damage from the siege of bad publicity for the university after Sandusky was indicted for child sex abuse in November 2011 and the elder Paterno was dismissed after decades as head coach.

Jay Paterno and Kenney were fired in January 2012, shortly after the announcement that the school had hired a new head coach, the suit alleges. At the time, it had been reported that Jay Paterno and the new coach “reached the conclusion” together that Paterno would leave Penn State.

The lawsuit, which seeks at least $1 million in damages for emotional distress and loss of earnings, argues that although the assistant coaches were never implicated of wrongdoing in the Sandusky investigation, their firings stigmatized them in the eyes of potential employers.

All Penn State has offered in response is “It is common practice for incoming head coaches to select their own coaching staff.”

The lawsuit notes that the school “terminated each of them (Paterno and Kenney) at the height of the Sandusky scandal’s dark shroud,” and that no attempt to “preserve the reputations” of the former coaches was made.

Read the full article here.

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Robby Soave at Reason has the story on how one university trampled students’ Constitutional rights, and now they’re fighting back:

Students for Concealed Carry, a gun rights group, is suing Ohio State University for maintaining an illegally broad anti-gun policy that prevents students from carrying guns even when they aren’t on campus property—a violation of state law, according to the group.

State law prohibits students from carrying guns on college campuses. SFCC isn’t fighting that. But the law specifically permits students to bring their guns onto campus as long as they leave them locked in their cars. OSU’s student handbook, however, forbids students from bringing guns onto campus at all, even if the weapons are left behind in locked cars, and even “if otherwise permitted by state law.”

Lawyers representing the two groups, SFCC and Ohioans for Concealed Carry, say public universities can’t trump state law and establish even stricter anti-gun policies.

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A University of Wisconsin-Whitewater professor is suing a former student for posting negative comments on the Internet.

Communications professor Sally Vogl-Bauer is suing her former graduate student Anthony Llewellyn for defamation, according to The Janesville Gazette. This comes after Llewellyn posted videos on YouTube and comments on his blog and TeacherComplaints.com claiming Vogl-Bauer “caused him to fail out of school” and “labeled him as a horrible student,” according to the lawsuit.

A handful of online postings appear to lay out Llewellyn’s case against Vogl-Bauer, though the author of each appears under a different name.

In a YouTube video posted in August by “Sally Vogl-Bauer’sGarbage,” a man who says he was enrolled in Vogl-Bauer’s spring 2013 course says Vogl-Bauer asked him “Why are you here, you don’t belong here,” and suggests his alleged unfair treatment was because of his “learning disability.”

The man claims Vogl-Bauer would take points off assignments for being late that he says were turned in on time, causing him to get a C in her class. As a result the man says he had to drop out of the master’s program. A July 2013 blog post on Blogspot.com by “Barry Grunter” lays out “just some of the grievances” that person has with Vogl-Bauer.

An update posted March 26 says the poster is being sued by Vogl-Bauer for defamation and links to another Blogspot blog, “Sally Vogl-Bauer’s outrageous lawsuit against her student,” which explains the lawsuit. In that post, the author says: “I should also note that I am an African American, one of the few African Americans attending UW-Whitewater,” and that because “the courthouse that I must appear at is in a rural area,” the local jury is more likely to “show sympathy with nonsense lawsuits that would otherwise be thrown out by a judge.”

The blogger says Vogl-Bauer’s attorney, Tim Edwards, contacted him in November saying he had reported the videos to the police because they “physically threatened Sally’s life.” Edwards later “apologized” for reporting the videos to the police, according to the blog’s author.

Edwards released a statement: “Students have a right to express their opinion, but when you go so far beyond that, into a concerted effort to attack somebody’s reputation because things didn’t go your way, that’s much different.”

Edwards asked Llewellyn to remove the critical videos and comments, and filed suit in the Walworth County Court after he refused. Vogl-Bauer is suing for punitive damages and attorney and trial fees, according to the Gazette.

Llewellyn emailed the Eastern Communication Association, of which Vogl-Bauer is a member, as well as the Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission to report Vogl-Bauer’s treatment after he failed her class in 2013. Court documents show Llewellyn described Vogl-Bauer as being “degrading, demeaning, and verbally attacking.”

Edwards declined to discuss details of the case but said “Persistent defamation among one’s peers and within a small professional community can be devastating to the career of a well-respected professional such as Ms. Vogl-Bauer,” according to the Gazette.

Vogl-Bauer denies all Llewellyn’s allegations, according to Edwards.

Llewellyn believes he did nothing wrong. “I don’t feel I’ve went [sic] too far with my videos and comments because everything posted basically communicates exactly how Sally Vogl-Bauer treated me,” he told the Gazette in an email.

The university says it allows students to fill out online evaluations of their professor anonymously at the end of each semester, according to the Gazette.

The case will go to trial in September, according to ABC News.

College Fix contributor Kyle Brooks is a student at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

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Boston College has been caught up in an investigation over the 1972 murder of a suspected IRA informer.

The New York Times reports:

LONDON — The police in Northern Ireland said on Thursday that they were taking legal action against Boston College to obtain all transcripts and recordings of interviews with paramilitary members on both sides of the sectarian divide who took part in an oral history project there.

The move came after 11 interviews with former members of the Irish Republican Army were subpoenaed last year. They had all referred to the 1972 abduction, execution and secret burial of Jean McConville, a widowed mother of 10 whom the I.R.A. believed to be an informer.

Tapes of those interviews led to the brief arrest and questioning this month of Gerry Adams, the leader of Sinn Fein, the former political arm of the I.R.A. and now one of Ireland’s most successful political parties. Mr. Adams denied any links to the McConville murder and was released without charge on May 4…

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Police thought she was an underage girl buying booze. But it was only bottled water. After three felony charges and a long night in jail, one student was left traumatized. The College Fix first reported this story last July:

A University of Virginia student was arrested after she fled from state alcoholic beverage control officers–with a bottle of water in her hands.

The raid was intended to crack down on suspected alcohol possession by underage youth. But the “raid” ended up looking like a case of embarrassing overreaction by authorities.

According to a news report of the incident, Elizabeth Daly, 20, bought “a carton of water, cookie dough and ice cream,” and then attempted to exit the Charlottesville store.

That’s when things started to get crazy.

A state beverage control officer–dressed in plain clothes, mind you, not in a uniform that would allow the young lady to easily identify him–approached Daly because the officer thought she was carrying a case of beer.

Apparently, being confronted by this unknown stranger, who was not in uniform and who was demanding to see what she had purchased, spooked the young lady. She told a reporter she and her friends were “terrified” by the sudden confrontation. Well, that’s understandable. Unfortunately, she fled in her car and in the process “struck” two government agents.

Quicker than you can say the words “bottled water,” she was booked on felony charges of assaulting a law enforcement officer and eluding police…

Now Ms. Daly is suing for big bucks, according to The New York Daily News:

Daly said she had been terrified when strangers surrounded her car and began pounding on the windows. She couldn’t roll down a window without starting the car, and when she did, one agent jumped on the hood and another pulled a gun, she has said repeatedly since the incident…

Daly called 911 in a panic and eventually surrendered after the dispatcher confirmed that them men swarming her car and attempting to break the windshield were, indeed, officers of the law. They booked her on multiple felony counts and made her spend the night in jail.

“The agents acted with actual malice, out of embarrassment and disgrace … and charged (Daly) with three felonies and did so out of anger and personal spite,” the suit claims.

Sounds like a bunch of vengeful police taking out their frustration on a understandably frightened young co-ed. Still, $40 million sounds a bit excessive.

I guess Ms. Daly is lucky that the officers didn’t shoot her.

Nathan Harden is editor of The College Fix and author of the book SEX & GOD AT YALE: Porn, Political Correctness, and a Good Education Gone Bad.

Follow Nathan on Twitter @NathanHarden

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The Yale Daily News reports an unusual development in the lawsuit surrounding the 2011 tailgating accident at the Harvard-Yale football game, which resulted in two serious injuries and one death, after a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity lost control of a U-Haul truck and struck three female pedestrians.

Thirty-year-old Nancy Barry, of Salem, Mass., was killed in November 2011 when a U-Haul truck driven by Brendan Ross ’13 — heading toward the tailgate area assigned to the fraternity at the Yale Bowl — accelerated and swerved out of control. Sarah Short SOM ’13 and Harvard employee Elizabeth Dernbach were also injured.

Last month, Short and Barry’s estate filed new suits, identical but separate, individually naming all the students who were members of the Yale chapter of the fraternity at the time of the crash, regardless of whether or not they were present at the tailgate. With Short’s medical expenses exceeding $300,000, Short’s attorney Joel Faxon said he expects a jury to award a sum to Short reaching into seven figures. Paul Edwards, who represents Barry’s estate, said he is looking to recover several million dollars over the death.

The new lawsuit, filed in Connecticut Superior Court in New Haven, is a result of a unique relationship between the national Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and the local Yale chapter.

According to Faxon, although Short initially sued the national Sig Ep fraternity in 2012, National Sigma Phi Epsilon Director of Risk Management Kathy Johnston said in a deposition that, legally, the local chapter and national association have nothing to do with each other. Furthermore, the national fraternity’s insurance — Liberty Mutual of Boston — does not cover actions by the local chapter, leading Short to sue the local chapter itself.

“[The national fraternity and its insurance], to try to save money, are trying to distance themselves from the case,” Faxon said. “[The local chapter] has been thrown under the bus … by the national fraternity, so the only remedy that our client has is to sue the local fraternity.”

Faxon said that in his 20 years of litigation, he has never seen such an arrangement, as national fraternities typically come to the aid of their local chapters. Because of Connecticut law, which defines the chapter as a voluntary association, the chapter can only be sued by way of its individual members…

To attempt to hold liable individual members of the fraternity who were not even present at the tailgate seems a stretch, legally and morally speaking.

We will continue to report the latest as this case develops.

Full story here.

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