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NCAA, Penn State Request Dismissal of Paterno Lawsuit

by on November 11, 2014 12:33 PM

The NCAA and Penn State agree on something - both parties want the lawsuit against them in Centre County Court dismissed.

Former Penn State assistant football coaches Jay Paterno and William Kenney, former university trustee Al Clemens and the Paterno Estate filed a lawsuit against the NCAA last year for alleged conspiracy and defamation. The plaintiffs argue that the NCAA overstepped its bounds in the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal, ultimately decreasing the value of the Paterno Estate and making it more difficult for Paterno and Kenney to find work.

Penn State was added as unwilling defendant to the lawsuit in January. The plaintiffs ask the courts to nullify the consent decree between the NCAA and Penn State that allowed the NCAA to impose its sanctions on the university after the Sandusky scandal. The plaintiffs also want to NCAA to pay damages to compensate for the harm caused by the NCAA's alleged defamation.

The plaintiffs' first complaint against the NCAA and Penn State was rejected by the court for being too vague, leading Paterno and the other parties to file a second amended complaint in October.

In court documents filed Monday, the NCAA argues the new complaint goes beyond what the court requested. In addition to the increased specificity requested by the court, the NCAA says the complaint adds new claims against the NCAA to the lawsuit. This should not have been done without first getting input from the NCAA, the athletic organization claims.

The NCAA also argues that the Paterno Estate lacks legal standing to challenge the consent decree, and asks that the estate's requests be dismissed.

Monday's filing also says that the Centre County court lacks "personal jurisdiction" over NCAA president Mark Emmert and executive chairman Edward Ray in part because the claims made by the plaintiffs did not occur in Pennsylvania.

"Plaintiffs' bald accusations that the NCAA Defendants conspired with a former federal judge and Director of the FBI to deprive Plaintiffs of their rights are not adequate to serve as the basis for personal jurisdiction over Dr. Emmert and Dr. Ray," the filing reads.

Penn State's response to the second complaint largely avoids making arguments against the claims made by Paterno and the other plaintiffs. Instead, Penn State repeatedly claims that no response is required of the university for this lawsuit.

Penn State asks for the lawsuit to be dismissed with prejudice, which would prevent it from being filed again in the future.


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Michael Martin Garrett is a reporter and editor for who covers local government, the courts, the arts and writes the Keeping the Faith column. He's a Penn State alumnus, a published poet and the bassist in a local indie rock band.
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