McQueary files new lawsuits - PSU/Sandusky

Submitted by Blazefire on October 3rd, 2012 at 10:36 AM

I know we just want this to be over, but I thought this should be covered, because it's new PSU stupidity. If you don't want to hear anymore about it, stop reading now. At this point, you have to wonder how much more PSU's athletic department can take.

I'm not sure if these are two independent suits, or flipsides of the same suit, but it reads like they are independent, which I think would make sense. They can be filed independently, and then that gives him two shots to win. Can an MGoLawyer confirm if that makes sense? Filing two separate lawsuits that each have the same final aim if there is a separate legal tennent for filing each one?

First off:

McQueary files whistleblower lawsuit

Evidently, McQueary was shocked to find out he was the ONLY member of the football coaching staff A: not offered a chance to interview for his old job under the new head coach, and B: to not have his legal fees covered by the university.

Now, the legal fees thing might not have merrit, because as I recall, McQueary electeed to get his own laywer rather than be represented by the university, because he feared the legal association (I could be wrong on that. I can't find a source that confirms it). However, if the univeristy paid for anybody else's independent lawyers, then that ones got legs.

The other issue, not being interviewed for his old job under a new coach, leaves them with no legal recourse, I think. If they had made a clean break, and told everybody from the old staff, "We're cleaning house, 100%", they might be okay. But to only leave him out? Do they not have a legal staff in their HR department over there?

Seeking: $4 Million, Legal Fees

Suit two:

McQueary files defamation suit

In this case, McQueary states that the Three Stooges - Spanier, Curley and Shulltz, worked together in public and behind university closed doors to discredit McQueary and make him a scapegoat and clearly indicated on several occasions that McQueary was a liar. He claims that this has ruined his reputation for honesty and dedication in the local and higher-education communities.

Seeking: $4 Million, Reinstatement, Lost Bowl Bonus, Legal Fees, Back Pay and Benefits

Comments

LSA Aught One

October 3rd, 2012 at 10:45 AM ^

I hope he wins solely to show others that reporting the truth shouldn't get you in trouble. Too often in corporate America we choose to ignore the wrongdoings of others because we fear retribution. Hopefully, this will help to change the tide.

justingoblue

October 3rd, 2012 at 10:55 AM ^

but he told the truth once he was under subpeona a decade later. It's not like he went to the police and they fired him over it.

I'm not saying Penn State is full of angels either, but I don't think this is anything like most whistleblower cases.

Tater

October 3rd, 2012 at 10:52 AM ^

Whenever I want to make sense of any of the fallout from Sandusky's crimes, I simply close my eyes, click my heels together three times, and say, "It's all about the money.  It's all about the money.  It's all about the money."

 

WolverineHistorian

October 3rd, 2012 at 11:01 AM ^

Sometimes I feel sorry for him, other times I want to hit him.  His reputation isn't all the great regardless since he did nothing to stop the "incident" and after reporting it, did no follow up for 10 years after he knew PSU didn't do anything about it. 

That doesn't justify what his superiors did and PSU nation still stupidly believes JoePa was framed, so technically McQueary has been made a scapegoat.  A lawsuit it understandable. 

Isn't victim #2 really the whistleblower, though?  The mother of the shower victim from 1998 and the McQueary sighting were covered up and never looked at again, even from the accusing parties.  Victim #2's accustation and report really set everything in motion.  

the unsilent m…

October 3rd, 2012 at 11:02 AM ^

But the named defendant (presumably PSU?) can motion to have the claims combined in one suit (joinder) because they arise from the same "transaction or occurrence."  It saves time/money to just get it all over with in one suit.  So, regardless of how he filed the suits, the defendant can motion to have them hashed out in a single suit.  Very basic explanation for what can be a complicated mess.

superstringer

October 3rd, 2012 at 11:04 AM ^

There is no prohibition from a plaintiff suing a defendant for the SAME claims, in multiple courts, all at the same time.  Like state court in PA, state court in NY, federal court in PA, etc etc.

There are procedures, however, to deal with it.  The defendant can ask various courts to "stay" (suspend) a case while the same claims proceed in another court.  There are mechanisms to get state claims up to federal courts.  There are mechanisms for federal courts in different states to consolidate cases -- a federal court in PA can transfer the case to a federal court in any other state, for instance.  (State courts can't force a transfer to a different state.)  Federal courts can kick a case to state court, if there is no federal jurisdiction.  Etc.

So, if these cases are really the same facts (or so interrelated and overlapping that it would be a bad idea to try them separately), either of the two courts can stop its case and allow the other to proceed.

BUT... if the courts dont think they are that interrelated, then both proceed.

superstringer

October 3rd, 2012 at 11:15 AM ^

People will do anything to themselves for money...

If Redhead was my client, here's what I would say.  YOU SURE ABOUT THIS?  PSU is going to argue that no one's hired you as a coach because YOU DIDNT STOP A GROWN MAN FROM [email protected] A CHILD.  You ran to your office and called daddy.  Gee, so big of you.  Think maybe THAT is why no one wants you on their coaching staff?

In other words, PSU is going to fight these by trying to portray Redhead as a total loser who, frankly, is as much to blame as anyone else at PSU.  I don't think the normal juror is going to think he gets a gold star for telling JoePa.

It reminds me of Linsdey Lohan suing E*TRADE for $100M a couple years ago, claiming that the use of the "milkaholic, boyfriend-stealing" baby named "Lindsey" (in one of the baby commercials) was a reference to her.  E*TRADE responded by dumping THOUSANDS of pages on the court, all stuff from magazines and newspapers and blogs etc etc., showing Lohan was a cokehead with no f'ing career anymore.  She settled the case very, very quickly.  In other words, while you MIGHT have a theory... the PAIN of what the other side is going to do to you in the litigation can be far worse.

Of course, if Redhead needs the money, and his lawyer is probably on a contingent fee, the pain might be worth it.

Blazefire

October 3rd, 2012 at 11:25 AM ^

If he really is the only guy not to get interviewed for his old job under the new staff, I'd say it's definitely worth it. They can't make the claim he wasn't a qualified candidate to be interviewed, because he had the job for years. Even if he sucked at it (he did), that's a resume that gets an interview, if the rest of the former staff is also getting interviewed. I think he can probably win on that.

The rest, though, you're right on, especialy the defamation. PSU can basically say, "We ddin't defame your character. You did that yourself."

MGlobules

October 3rd, 2012 at 11:08 AM ^

of allowing McQueary to get his story out in front of the public. I remember that there was a lot of hate out there toward him in the early going. . . Not insinuating that he always acted correctly, btw. 

Steve in PA

October 3rd, 2012 at 11:19 AM ^

You weren't a very good Qb or coach and are basically a dick of a person with a whiney sense of entitlement.  The great career advice you got from your well connected father proved your loyalty to Paterno.  That loyalty rewarded you with a job where you were seen on TV pretending to be a coach until Paterno died or the scandal broke.

Both of those have happened and your 15 minutes is up.  If you really were that good of a coach someone would hire you.  Just look at Billy Gillespy, Bobby Petrino, or a host of others. 

Everyone knows you were nothing more than a hanger-on for over a decade.  The PSU faithful didn't like you before, but now can't even bear to think about how you sold out that young boy to be a loyal foot soldier in the Paterno Army.

LSAClassOf2000

October 3rd, 2012 at 11:24 AM ^

The complaint linked in the CNN article lists "whistleblower, defamation and misrepresentation" under type of case, and the 36 paragraphs of the complaint read as if these are all being tried in one case (which is probably a better move, as others have mentioned). Indeed, the counts are detailed separately towards the end.

What intrigues me - and it is not in the PDF link, it appears - is "Exhibit C". If I am looking at this right, it is the statement that was read to him and then handed to him as he was officially being placed on leave, the Monday after he was told by the acting AD to leave town for the weekend (the weekend he was told over the phone that he was being placed on leave that the details were forthcoming), which also came after the directive from Tom Bradley that McQueary would not be coaching at the Nebraska game presumably. The only major reference to it is in the defamation count, which outlines the allegation that Spanier tried to make McQuaery out to be a liar essentially and it says that, at some point, at least portions of this were made public, hence the defamation at least.

As someone said, nobody here really did the right thing, but this is admittedly a somewhat intriguing segment of the overall human debacle here.

 

ijohnb

October 3rd, 2012 at 12:23 PM ^

is going nowhere.  Telling Joe Pa that you saw "something sexual" does not make you a whistleblower.  Joe Pa was the coach but he was not McQuerry's boss.  McQuerry's actions in telling Joe Pa did not lead to the criminal indictments of Shultz, Curley, etc., the firing of Joe Pa and the civil problems now engulfing Penn State.  He blew no whistles, or at least not the correct ones, so not being interviewed by the new staff could not have had anything to with blowing the whistle.  Not to mention that the new staff was not the old staff that he is claiming to have blown the whistle on.  That suit is swiss cheese.   No cause there.

Defamation will likely be a little bit complicated.

My guess is that McQuerry does not want his story told as much as he wants a quick, and relatively modest settlement.  He is going to have trouble finding work again.

Mr Miggle

October 3rd, 2012 at 12:48 PM ^

His whistleblower complaint deals with retaliation for talking to the grand jury, not for reporting to Paterno. McQueary's statements to the grand jury had a major impact in bringing PSU's coverup to light and the subsequent legal problems for the school.

WirlingDirvish

October 3rd, 2012 at 1:49 PM ^

IAMAL but I don't believe talking to a grand jury is whistle blowing. Whistle blowing world be going to the cops to begin with. He was probably subpoenaed to testify, hence no whistle blowing. His argument would have to be based on telling JoPa.

ijohnb

October 3rd, 2012 at 1:55 PM ^

not "talk" to the Grand Jury, he testified.  I have not read the complaint because the damn link won't let me access it, but I hightly doubt that he is suing as a "whistleblower" for answering questions under oath.  If he is, the complaint is even worse than I thought.  Retaliatory discharge maybe (still don't think so), but not a whistleblower suit.

Mr Miggle

October 3rd, 2012 at 3:39 PM ^

It sure looks like grand jury testimony falls under the whistleblower protection in Pennsylvania.

 

 

The Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law applies to public sector employees only; it prohibits an employer from discharging, threatening or otherwise discriminating or retaliating against an employee, or a person acting on behalf of an employee, who has made a good faith report of wrongdoing or waste to the employer or an appropriate authority, or when the employee is asked by an appropriate authority to participate in an investigation, hearing or court action. "Wrongdoing" is defined in the statute as any violation of any state, federal or local law, regulation, ordinance, code of conduct or code of ethics designed to protect the interest of the public or the employer.

 

 

http://myweb.whitman.syr.edu/pjcihon/PAWHISTL.htm

93Grad

October 3rd, 2012 at 11:26 AM ^

organizations are not required to pay legal fees for any employees other than directors and officers, and even in those cases, organizations are not required to pay legal fees if the fees are related to some wrong doing by the director or officer.

 

While not obligated to do so, most organizations will pay their employees legal fees if the legal matter is related to the employees' legitimate job duties because who would want to work for a company that does not pay your fees when the only reason you need a lawyer is because of your job?

 

I suppose it is also possible that McQueary had a contract that obligated the university to pay legal fees and then he would have a good case.  He could also have an equittable claim that the University through its custom and practice assumed an obligation to pay its employees' legal fees but that is a tough case to prove.

 

Assuming the court finds PSU had a right to pay his legal fees, the fact that McQueary hired his own lawyer should not matter as there was probably a conflict in having a PSU lawyer represent him personally while also repping the university.

 

It would also not matter that the University paid everyone else's fees in this case and not his unless the court found this created a duty on PSU's part to pay everyone's fees (a tough argument) or that PSU purposely did not pay his fees in retaliation for his "blowing the whistle" (a slightly better argument but maybe not a slam dunk).

Perkis-Size Me

October 3rd, 2012 at 11:47 AM ^

I feel zero sympathy for this guy. He did absolutely nothing to follow up and make sure the correct actions were being taken. I don't know the ins and outs of the whole case, but I know enough to know this guy shouldn't be entitled to anything.

 

mGrowOld

October 3rd, 2012 at 11:49 AM ^

My distain for McQuery as a person are fairly well-known on the board but I am interested in these lawsuits as they present the opportunity for the question "what did Joe know and when did he know it" to be finally asked and answered in court.  As of today the PSU apologists and BSD nutjobs hang their delusional hat on discrediting the Freeh report because it wasnt conducted "under oath".  A trial such as this would seem to require having that all important "WDJKAWDHKI" question resolved once and for all.

maizenbluenc

October 3rd, 2012 at 12:22 PM ^

They denied what McQueary told them, and then said he lied about telling them explicitly what he saw, so they could hide behind the they thought it was just horseplay line of defense.

Legal council and opportunity to interview for the job aside, the defamation has legs, and to be fair he should be compensated for it.

No of it will repair his reputation however. He's done other than a digusting book deal or something.

FrankMurphy

October 3rd, 2012 at 2:14 PM ^

I feel bad for this guy. His career has been ruined by something that he saw through no fault of his own. We can sit here and criticize him for what he should or shouldn't have done at the moment he saw that horrific scene, but if there hadn't been so many breakdowns in leadership at every level of Penn State's administrative hierarchy, McQueary's actions wouldn't be an issue. McQueary never was in a position of authority at PSU, so insisting that he should have done this or that puts a greater burden on him than he deserves.

energyblue1

October 3rd, 2012 at 3:09 PM ^

Neither has much merit.

1 Pennst isn't responsible for his legal fees if he went and hired his own attourney

2 Not interviewed for his old job.  Did pennst hire a new qb coach or is the Head Coach or OC filling that role?  I think the difference in performance thus far to date justifies not hiring him back....

SchembechlerDisciple

October 6th, 2012 at 10:21 AM ^

...hear slapping. You walk around the corner and see a grown man raping a young boy. You don't immediately physically stop the rape, call the police, and stay with the boy until he is reunited with his parent(s)/guardian(s). You are owed nothing no matter what happens next.