A Teacher's Angle on Urban Liar

Submitted by MGrether on August 24th, 2018 at 12:58 PM

One side angle that I wanted to comment on (and my apologies if you feel this angle or thought has been retreaded, but I need to get this out)... OSU is a publicly funded educational institution. Teachers and Coaches at public institutions are held to a HIGHER MORAL standard then other professionals. I'd agree with OSU fans that this is a moral/family matter that was mishandled and misled to win games... if this was the NFL.

However, as a public school teacher/state employee... If I was to throw up in public from being drunk, I'm fired. If I get a DUI, I can be fired. If I use inappropriate language, I'm fired. If I'm accused of looking at a girl the wrong way (student or staff), I'm fired. If I have inappropriate relations or bring such paraphernalia onto campus... I'm fired. If I even google search such items while on school property, I'm fired.  If someone suspects that I knew about ONE abuse incident and didn't report on it to higher authorities... I'm fired. If my boss was caught covering up ANY of those incidents, she would be fired, too. 

Aside from the gross injustice that has been done to Ms. Courtney Smith... the State-Employed Zach Smith and Urban Meyer, who are working for a publicly funded educational institution would have BOTH been fired YEARS ago if they worked in any other public school setting then Football Coach. Many OSU fan's complaints come from the mindset of OSU functioning like a corporate entity, which has completely different thresholds on morality then the public educational institutions that pay millions of dollars to employ them. It is another brick in the wall of social injustice against women AND degradates the supposed mission and purpose of thee Ohio State University.


Section 1.8

August 24th, 2018 at 2:15 PM ^

Courtney Smith, filing suit... for what?

What is the cause of action?  If you can't give me a legal answer, that's okay.  Just say it in plain English.  But be very specific.  Try to be concise.

I'm an attorney, and while I am not licensed in Ohio, I actually have some familiarity with OSU and Ohio's Public Records Act.

I have no idea, what her cause of action might be against Ohio State.


August 24th, 2018 at 2:36 PM ^

If a University employee/office knowingly ignored domestic abuse allegations, are there not Title IX implications that could be the basis for a lawsuit?

I’m not an attorney (I just started law school this week so I fully admit to knowing absolutely nothing) but I’m interested to know if Smith’s legal team could file suit based on intimate violence committed by a University employee going unreported and/or unpunished by the institution. If an alleged domestic abuser is on staff at a university, and the university knowingly and willfully ignored the allegations against the individual that then turn out to be true (IF Smith’s team can provide evidence of both abuse and the university’s knowledge thereof,) are they not liable for retaining the employee beyond the time they learned of the allegations, even if he was not formally charged? Again, I really don’t know the answer here so any guidance is appreciated.

Section 1.8

August 25th, 2018 at 12:15 PM ^

1) Title IX remedies are for "discrimination."  What was the "discrimination" that Courtney Smith experienced?  She's not a university employee or student.  Title IX does afford private causes of action, but only in very limited cases.  Intentional discrimination mostly. (See the post about "negligence" below.)  Now, 42 USC Sec. 1983 affords some very narrow windows to combine a 1983 civil rights claim with Title IX allegations, but I don't think any of them come close to offering Courtney Smith a federal cause of action.

2)  What are Courtney Smith's damages?  Huh?  Is her claim going to be that by virtue of Zach's employment at OSU, she was damaged?  How would that be articulated?  Would she have somehow escaped some abuse (when?  what occasion?) if Ohio State had terminated Zach Smith sooner?  I don't understand what harm was caused to Courtney Smith by Ohio State.

3)  I get the impression that many of you think that Ohio State should act in loco parentis and fix all domestic relations problems among all employees.  You are forgetting that -- as far as I am aware -- Courtney Smith never made a single formal complaint to any office of Ohio State.  Moreover, Zach Smith has not been formally accused -- by Courtney Smith or anybody else -- of an act of physical violence.  (I'm talking about a formal complaint or a legal charging document or information.)*  My same old argument comes back here; it's okay if a domestic assault victim wants to use an extrajudicial method to seek relief or protection from abuse.  But it is always best to make a report to law enforcement and follow your legal remedies.  Better for you, better for your abuser.

4)  And if it is a matter of criminal behavior on the part of Zach Smith that was the real offense here, there is a truck-sized exception to most negligence/respondeat superior theories that would attempt to hold Ohio State liable for Zach Smith's intentional criminal acts.  A principal, like a corporation or a university, may be liable for the negligent acts or omissions of employees that are performed within the scope of their employment.  Principals are generally NOT liable for intentional torts or criminal acts that are committed by employees or other agents.

*Edit. -- I'm wrong about that, but only technically wrong.  In connection with the events leading directly to Zach's firing by Coach Meyer, Courtney applied for and obtained a personal protection order.  And to do that, she made a sworn statement.  Which is nothing more and nothing less than her unilateral side of the story.  So she did that.  And Zach got fired.  And now we shall see, what happens to Courtney's support payments.



August 26th, 2018 at 1:56 PM ^

I appreciate the response, and I think you raise some excellent points. A more nuanced reply on my part would require me to research some case law that (A) I probably will not understand yet and (B) I really don't have the time to read right now. Like I said, I am just starting to learn about the law and the legal process, and I now realize that this specific issue is far above my current understanding.

Thanks for giving an articulate and detailed response, you've helped frame my understanding of the situation for the better.


August 24th, 2018 at 3:11 PM ^

I'm gonna go with negligence, possibly negligence per se under Title IX. Probably wouldn't win, but seems like it could survive an early motion to dismiss and proceed to discovery. OSU wouldn't care about potential damages (de minimus), but would greatly care about being subject to both media scrutiny and discovery. 

Not sure about about Ohio case law and rules, but spoliation is another one that could creep in here. Heck, if you were getting creative as a prosecutor and there were crimes between Zach and Courtney and Urbs deleted related text messages, you could go for obstruction of justice possibly.

That's in the first 30 seconds of thinking. 

I don't think any of those are particularly good, but if you have "no idea, [sic] what her cause of action might be" you aren't trying very hard to think of ideas. 


August 24th, 2018 at 3:35 PM ^

Thanks for your thoughts. If it discovery is granted, it would at the very least allow Smith to pursue recovering the alleged text messages. If not, and if they were sent or received on a University-provided device, I would think that the messages could be made available under FOIA or another public information mechanism. I really want to see those text messages. When a coach’s first thought is to bury evidence, something is very wrong. Even if the case gets settled or dismissed after discovery, you are exactly right that OSU would not be comfortable with the ensuing public scrutiny of deleted text messages, or the shame of being party to a Title IX suit.

Also, let’s not forget about the pending action in the wrestling situation there, so the more pressure that can be applied to their President/AD/coaches/Board of Trustees, the better. If it turns out that Urban did actually follow the rules, that means that his superiors did not. I want the responsible parties fired with cause with every ounce of evidence possible. 

In anticipation of OSU trolls, I should also be clear that this has nothing to do with me being a Michigan, ‘homer.’ If Harbaugh or the Administration were in a similar situation, I would call for his or his superiors’ resignation(s) almost immediately, depending on the facts. Large, influential institutions like U of M and OSU need to be an example of honesty and compliance, not examples of how to avoid consequences.


August 24th, 2018 at 5:22 PM ^

state actors, e.g. ohio state (DV) univ and their employees frequently have significant immunity from law suits.  i don't practice in ohio, but in michigan unless a statute specifically says otherwise it requires that the state actor (read: employee) be/is grossly negligent (just short of intentionally injuring) and be the sole cause of the damage.  here, the only state actor that would be the sole cause of injury would the ZS.  

Section 1.8

August 25th, 2018 at 1:44 PM ^

You really should've spent more than 30 seconds, on some basic legal research.

You mention a "prosecutor" when what we are talking about are purely civil causes of action.

Then, there is no "negligence" cause of action under authority of Title IX.  Your throwing in the concept of "negligence per se" really does tell me that you have no idea what you are talking about.

"Spoliation" is virtually never a separate cause of action.  Not even in kooky California, where it was once discussed as such.  Spoliation may give rise to an affirmative defense, a discovery motion and ultimately a negative inference from the trier of fact or a negative inference jury instruction.  But not a separate cause of action.  At least not in the Smith case's circumstances.

"Obstruction of justice" would only arise as a matter of a criminal prosecution.  And as I already once reminded you, we are talking about civil causes of action when we are talking about "Courtney... suing Ohio State."  I'm aware of no criminal investigation of Urban Meyer as a predicate to his having obstructed justice, in utilizing a normal function on his cellphone to save messages only for a year.  You can say that it was wrong and ugly and duplicitous and deceptive and any other thing you want; but it isn't obstructing justice if there is no ongoing or anticipated criminal investigation or legal process.  A legal process need not be underway, but if you aren't somehow obstructing a judicial officer, before or during an investigation, you aren't obstructing justice.


oriental andrew

August 24th, 2018 at 3:23 PM ^

Are you saying that because teachers are generally under contract and/or represented by labor unions? Or just as a general matter of course? If the former, I would agree. 

Speaking as someone who has spent his entire career in corporate America, many of those same actions described in the OP are also fireable offenses, and without the need for "due process" because, as white collar middle management, I am employed without a contract in an at-will state. 


August 24th, 2018 at 5:45 PM ^

I was thinking more of from a legal standpoint, but yes, the labor union point you mentioned is valid as well. 


Although, to tell the truth, due process should apply to anyone in any job, if for no other reason to prove that the allegation is true.  It would be quite wrong for somebody to be wrongfully fired for allegations of sexual harrassment, but later to find out that those allegations were not true (although that has happened more than once).


August 24th, 2018 at 1:04 PM ^

I doubt you'd get fired for "looking at a girl the wrong way," unless that involved simulating sex while doing so, or drooling down your face with molesty eyes, or something similar... 


August 24th, 2018 at 1:40 PM ^

I was walking down the stairs next to my middle school shop teacher in 8th grade as a female classmate of mine - who had developed early, fully, and, shall we say, "amply" - was coming up the stairs. As she passed rapidly, thereby jiggling heavily, the shop teacher flashed the creepiest smile at me ever and said, "Did you see THOSE?" 

That is a 100% true story, and even in the late 80s, I knew that was pretty fucked up... 


August 24th, 2018 at 1:53 PM ^

Another part of this true story... His name was Rex, and the STUDENTS called him "Sexy Rexy," because his creepiness was so well known. He also drove a panel van. As far as I know, he retired with no known incidents on his record...  


August 24th, 2018 at 4:14 PM ^

My first teaching job was 8th grade social studies, and there a girl just like that in one of my classes. I was only 22, very inexperienced, and made my share of mistakes - but I can't imagine being so stupid or slimy as to make a comment like that to one of my male students.

Besides, those little pervs didn't need any prompting. They all noticed her without any help.


August 24th, 2018 at 1:55 PM ^

I 100% believe you. I think there are way more creeps out there than anyone can imagine and it's only become more prevalent due to social media and the Internet. For example this


 Was my biology teacher at Huron high school and


 Was my doctor for my whole childhood. Never in a million years would I have guessed that either of these men would be capable of doing such things. In fact, Mr. Holley was one of my favorite teachers in high school.


August 24th, 2018 at 3:16 PM ^

I think what's happened is cell phones.  If you read some of these reports, most of them involve someone finding (or showing others) the texts between the teacher and student.  If you're doing something wrong, don't put it in writing. 

Unless you're Urban, in which case you can delete them and it's OK.


August 24th, 2018 at 4:50 PM ^

I don't know how long ago that was, but the climate has changed.  When I was in high school, there were cases (more than 1!) where there were male teacher/female student liasions that lasted through high school and immediately after high school the couple married.   It was pretty much common knowledge.  I doubt schools look the other way any more.


August 24th, 2018 at 1:05 PM ^

So the side effects of being Urban Meyer include heart problems, GERD, arachnoid cysts, severe headaches and memory loss.

Coming into contact with Urban Meyer can lead to aggravated stalking, possessing alcohol, DUI, felony burglary, misdemeanor battery, resisting police officers, theft, urinating in public, possessing drugs, sex toy addiction, domestic abuse and double murder.

This CDC needs to quarantine this dude, ASAP!!!!


August 24th, 2018 at 1:07 PM ^

can we stop calling him Urban Liar. He is a lying piece of crap. But calling him that sounds just as dumb as scUM or meatchicken or hairball or whatever dumb names our idiot rivals come up with


August 24th, 2018 at 5:32 PM ^

I find myself calling him Urban Liar, maybe I'm just mentally 15. I can't help myself considering how he has manipulated the truth over this whole shit show.

I'm not surprised he was suspended, nor am I surprised he doesn't think he deserves a suspension. I'm even less surprised by the reaction of "Buckeye Nation". (By the way, any fanbase who identify as "insert mascot nation" needs to be collectively slapped.)

I'm cool with the way these idiots handled this situation because it showed the world where their priorities are. "Buckeye Nation" should hold another rally - this time to show support for renaming the school Urban Meyer State University. Their new mascot will be some hairy nuts supported by a scarlet and gray ball lifter. I can just hear them chanting "we support Meyer nuts!"




August 24th, 2018 at 1:07 PM ^

Agreed. But is it not only public employees. If my employees spend company money at strip clubs with clients they are automatically fired. If I approved those expenses, I am fired. We have to sign code of conduct agreements every year.

Sleep with a subordinate - fired. Have sex in the office - fired. If I am aware of those and do not report them 

Politicians and coaches seem to operate on different rules.

Section 1.8

August 24th, 2018 at 2:20 PM ^

Did Meyer approve of or condone any spending at strip clubs?

Correct me if I am mistaken, but I thought that Smith had to repay those expenses, was written up for having done it, was told never to do it again, and the coaches' written policies and procedures were amended to make it clear in writing that nothing like that would be tolerated in the future, with a morals clause.

Have I misstated any of that?



August 24th, 2018 at 4:15 PM ^

I don't know about "condoned," but he kept his job.  He also kept his job when he was drinking heavily, showing up late to work, and skipping scheduled recruiting visits and lying about it to Meyer.  I guess the only thing that gets you fired at OSU is having the public find out about it.