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Settlement Hearing Scheduled in Fencing Coach's Wrongful Termination Suit

by on June 09, 2015 6:55 AM

Penn State's former fencing coach is headed toward a settlement hearing in his lawsuit against the university. 

Emmanuil Kaidanov is suing the university for damages and reinstatement to his old job.

Kaidanov alleges he was wrongfully terminated after being accused of retaliation against an employee. In Feb. 2013, a university staff member reported she saw a female fencer holding a marijuana joint. It was later determined to be a rolled up piece of athletic tape, and the student athlete passed a drug test.

The coach approached the staff member at a later date and expressed that he was upset she didn't come to him first. According to his termination letter from Joyner and Del Giorno, this incident was considered a retaliatory action against an employee, which is grounds for firing. 

While the university calls that an act of retaliation, Kaidanov says in his complaint that he was obligated by Penn State policy to "ensure that each individual is treated with fairness and provided with the optimal opportunity to excel." 

It was a surprising personnel decision when Kaidanov lost his job in August 2013. The former Penn State fencing program head coach led his team to 12 national championships during his 31-year tenure. A total of 28 fencers won individual national titles and Kaidanov was named NCAA Coach of the Year four times.

In the latest pre-trial news, federal district judge Gene E.K. Pratter has referred the lawsuit to magistrate judge Timothy Rice for a settlement hearing. This is a fairly common occurrence in a civil suit of this nature, and the hearing will be held on June 17 at 1:30 p.m. in Philadelphia.

If a settlement isn't reached, a trial will be scheduled to begin no earlier than this coming January. 

The university and Kaidanov attorney Alvin de Levie both declined comment on the upcoming settlement hearing.

Editors Note: An earlier version of this story stated that Kaidanov was suing former Penn State Athletic Director David Joyner, and integrity officer Julie Del Giorno. In a December 2014 ruling, federal judge Gene Pratter removed both Joyner and Del Giorno from the lawsuit.


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Zach Berger is the managing editor of He graduated from Penn State University in 2014 with a degree in print journalism. Zach enjoys writing about a variety of topics ranging from football to government, music, and everything in between.
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