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Paterno Family Asks Judge to Overrule Penn State's Objection to Pending Subpoena

by on April 07, 2014 2:13 PM

The Paterno family and other defendants in a lawsuit against the NCAA and Penn State filed a motion Monday asking a judge to overrule the university's objection to a pending subpoena.

That subpoena would require Penn State to turn over a slew of documents.

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 a subpoena to Penn State, the Big Ten and NCAA. The subpoena asks for all documents related to the Louis Freeh investigation into the Jerry Sansudky child sex abuse scandal. After the Freeh Report was issued, the NCAA slapped unprecedented sanctions on Penn State's football program.

Penn State's attorney, Joseph Green of Lee Green & Reiter Law Firm in Bellefonte, objects to the Paterno's 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 motion, filed by the Paterno family filed on Monday argues that 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.

"Penn State has turned the procedure for asserting privilege on its head, by making a sweeping assertion of privilege which of then lifts for certain categories of documents that it acknowledges are not privileged," the motion states.

Additionally, plaintiffs argue the request for documents is not overly broad.

"Penn State's suggestion that it would bee too expensive to conduct a review of any potentially privileged documents from the highly publicized investigation and report lacks force," the motion states.

The Paterno family is joined in the lawsuit by several 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.

Penn State attorneys argue the lawsuit should be dismissed for a slew of reasons, including that the Paterno family is not a recognized legal entity.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court appointed Potter County Judge John Leete to preside over the case. However, the case is still in the Centre County court system.

Related Reports:

Penn State Objects to Paterno Family's Subponea Request in NCAA Lawsuit

Penn State and NCAA ask Court to Dismiss Paterno Family Lawsuit

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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