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Judge Orders Hearing for Paterno Family Lawsuit Against NCAA, Penn State

by on April 10, 2014 4:47 PM

A judge has ordered a hearing regarding objections in the Paterno family lawsuit targeting the NCAA and Penn State.

Centre County Common Pleas President Judge Thomas Kistler issued the order Thursday on behalf of Potter County Judge John Leete, who is specially presiding over the case. The order schedules a hearing for May 19 at the Centre County Courthouse.

At the hearing, parties will make arguments regarding the Paterno family's desire to issue a subpoena to the NCAA and Penn State to acquire a slew of documents from the Louis Freeh investigation regarding how Penn State handled the child sexual abuse scandal at the hands of former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky.

Penn State objects to the pending subpoena saying the request for such documents and other information, including phone records and emails, violates attorney-client privilege as well as other privileges – and also says the demands are unrealistic and overly costly.

The Paterno family argues Penn State's objections "lack foundation;" the work of the Freeh report is not a protected work product; Penn State's objections are "improper;" and that Penn State did not properly assert attorney-client privilege.

Last month, Scott Paterno, acting on behalf of the family of the late Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno, filed a notice of intent to serve the subpoena, which asks for all documents related to the Louis Freeh investigation into the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Penn State hired Freeh, former FBI director, to investigate the scandal. After the Freeh Report was issued, which found significant wrongdoing on the part of the university, the NCAA leveled unprecedented sanctions against Penn State's football program.

The Paterno family is joined in the lawsuit by multiple members of the Penn State Board of Trustees, former Nittany Lion football players, and university faculty members.

The suit asks for monetary damages. It also asks the court to overturn a consent decree between Penn State and the NCAA allowing the sanctions.

The lawsuit includes five allegations: breach of contract, intentional interference with contractual relations, injurious falsehood and commercial disparagement, defamation, and civil conspiracy.

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Jennifer Miller is a reporter for She has worked in journalism since 2005. She's covered news at the local, state and national level with an emphasis on crime and local government.
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