The Chronicle editorializes today concerning the lawsuit recently filed on behalf of former Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler. The editorial follows in full, after which I make a few comments and ask a question concerning the suit filing. I hope someone will answer the question. It concerns an important matter.
Now The Chronicle editorial:
Former Duke men's lacrosse head coach Mike Pressler's recently filed lawsuit against Duke marks yet another chapter in the seemingly unending judicial process that has followed the lacrosse case.I left the following comment on the thread of the editorial post:
Pressler's attorneys seek to void the financial settlement reached last March between Pressler and the University because they claim it was violated when John Burness, senior vice president for public affairs and government relations, made disparaging comments about Pressler. In a press release from University Counsel Pam Bernard, the University seems confident in its ability to defend against the lawsuit.
Although the University has sustained much criticism for the numerous lawsuits recently filed against it, we have learned all too well that we cannot rush to judge Pressler or the University as details of the settlement are confidential. This board awaits new information to come to light to evaluate this highly sensitive case.
Indeed, at this point, we know very little about this suit in particular and don't pretend to know much about the intricate legal processes at play. We need to give both the University and Pressler's attorneys time to present their arguments before reaching conclusions.
To the editorial board:I’ve read the filing once and press accounts concerning it.
I'd like to commend you for a well-writen and very sensible editorial.
It's a service to the Duke community.
John in Carolina
I plan to post today or tomorrow on the press accounts – look for a post: “One suit, two stories.”
Now a question I want to ask those of you who are attorneys or particularly knowledgeable regarding filings in suits of the type Pressler is bringing.
In the filing (available here in pdf form) Duke is ID’ed as “the defendant” and John Burness as “the official spokesperson.”
The filing contains a number of numerated paragraphs in which specific statements by “the official spokesperson” are cited.
Up through paragraph 22 “the official spokesman” is the only person cited as having made statements which Pressler’s attorneys assert breached the agreement with Duke.
Then paragraph 22:
22 - Upon information and belief, the defendant, acting through its official spokesman, agents, employees and representatives, has made about Coach Pressler additional defamatory and disparaging statements that breach an essential and dependent covenant of the Confidential Agreement.The filing doesn’t cite particular statements it asserts Duke’s “official spokesman, agents, employees and representatives” made “that breach an essential and dependent covenant of the Confidential Agreement.”
My question: Is 22 a kind of “any and all, now and forever” boiler plate statement used as a contingency in the event discovery reveals that others besides Burness made statements which Pressler’s attorneys would assert breached the Confidential Agreement; or does 22 indicate Pressler's attorneys are in possession of what they believe are statements made by others at Duke besides Burness which the attorneys will assert breached the Confidential Agreement?
None of the press reporting of the filing has mentioned 22 or addressed the question I’m asking.
I hope someone can help with the answer.
The most comprehensive coverage so far of the Pressler suit has been provided by The Johnsville News here and here. It was at TJN I found the pdf link to the filing. If you, like me, sometimes have trouble with pdf documents, TJN has the full text of the filing in this post.