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Former Nittany Lion Football Trainer Tim Bream Files Another Lawsuit Against Penn State

Former Penn State football athletic trainer Tim Bream filed a new lawsuit in federal court on Monday claiming the university reneged on a pledge to renew his employment agreement and breached his contract when he was demoted.

A separate lawsuit filed by Bream against the university in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas was dismissed last May.

Bream, a Penn State alumnus who previously had been head athletic trainer for the Chicago Bears, was hired in February 2012 as director of athletic training services and head athletic trainer for the Nittany Lion football team on a five-year contract that was extended to June 30, 2017. He was later promoted to assistant athletic director overseeing training for all 31 varsity sports.

Attorney Steven Marino wrote in the new complaint, filed in U.S. Middle District Court of Pennsylvania, that in May 2017 then-senior associate athletic director Charmelle Green told Bream his contract would be renewed under its existing terms.

After Bream’s original contract expired at the end of June, he continued working in the same roles and with the same compensation, although a new agreement was never signed, according to the filing.

On Feb. 6, 2018, Green informed Bream that he would remain head athletic trainer for football but would no longer be assistant athletic director for athletic training services. With that, his salary was reduced from $188,928 to $135,000.

Marino wrote that the university had no cause, as defined in his employment agreement, for the demotion and that the “unjustified” action made Bream’s working conditions “intolerable.”

Bream, who now resides in Florida, resigned three days later.

He is seeking unspecified damages and reinstatement of the terms of his employment agreement.

In his first lawsuit against the university, Bream claimed the actions taken against him by the university were done so with the “ulterior motive of avoiding the appearance of impropriety, wrongdoing or scandal at the expense of” Bream’s rights.

In a separate capacity from his university employment, Bream had been the live-in adviser for Beta Theta Pi fraternity at the time pledge Timothy Piazza fell down steps during an alcohol-fueled initiation at the fraternity’s house and later died.

Bream, who was not among the nearly 30 people charged in that case, testified at a preliminary hearing that he was asleep that night and unaware of what occurred. He also claimed he did not know about or approve alcohol at fraternity functions.

Surveillance video footage showed Bream walking through the hall, about 10 feet from where the injured Piazza was on the floor, shortly after 5 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2017. He testified he did not see evidence of alcohol or see Piazza as he left for work that morning.

Centre County President Judge Pamela Ruest dismissed Bream’s original lawsuit last year, ruling that his claims were legally insufficient and that a performance evaluation showed the university showed separate, legitimate reasons for his discharge.