Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Pressler slander suit to go forward

Reader Alert: I question in the post below whether a report that Duke senior vice president John Burness is a defendant in the Pressler suit is correct. I checked with the reporter on the story who confirmed that Burness has now been added as a defendant. You can read more here.

I thank the reporter, Ray Gronberg, for his help.


The Durham Herald Sun reports under Ray Gronberg’s byline:

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning ruled today that former Duke lacrosse coach Mike Pressler can pursue his claims against the university and university spokesman John Burness. …

The judge didn't address the merits of Pressler's claims, but said he was mystified why Burness made the comments he did to columnist Steven Marcus at Long Island's Newsday and to Aaron Beard of The Associated Press long after Pressler had taken another coaching job.

Pressler became the lacrosse coach at a Rhode Island school, Bryant University, in 2006, four months after leaving Duke.

Burness' comments appeared in April and June of 2007.

Pressler claims Burness maligned him by implying to Marcus that he hadn't controlled his team, and by allegedly telling Beard there was a night-and-day difference between Pressler and his successor at Duke, coach John Danowski.

Pressler was forced out in 2006, the height of the controversy triggered by an exotic dancer's false allegations that she'd been raped by three members of the 2005-06 lacrosse team.

Technically he resigned, but neither side has ever tried to hide the fact he did so under pressure from the Duke administration.
The entire H-S story’s here.

Gronberg’s a very able reporter. I plan to contact him to check whether Burness is a defendant in the suit.

My understanding is Duke is the only defendant; the suit simply names Burness as having acted in Duke’s name.

I’ll let you know what I hear back from Gronberg.

The Raleigh N&O’s report of today’s decision included this which I found informative:
…John M. Simpson, a lawyer representing Duke, argued that when Pressler started at Duke in 1990, he signed an agreement to go through an arbitration process with any employment complaints.

Lawyers Don Strickland and Jay Trehy, who represent Pressler, argued that Pressler could not be held to those terms in the slander case because the remarks came after his employment at Duke ended. …
The entire N&O story is here.

WRAL's report on the story is here.

Question: Does anyone have recent membership figures for MoveOn.Duke?

Hat tips: A number of you who are helpful and on to things before I am. Many thanks.

Please keep working to keep me up with "the latest."



Danvers said...

"My understanding is Duke is the only defendant; the suit simply names Burness as having acted in Duke’s name."

This is correct: Duke University is the only defendant in the lawsuit.