Sunday, August 26, 2012

Here Come the Sandusky Lawsuits

The first is filed... in Philadelphia, of course, where the juries are extra generous to plaintiffs. And then there is the matter what, thanks to the media, America knows about the case and when it knew it. My print column is up.


Blogger MediaMike said...

A few things need to happen here:
1) The judge needs to send the case back to central PA where it belongs.
2) Any and all people attempting to get on this suit as “plaintiffs” need to be rolled into one group, one lawyer / legal team, with one trial.
3) Have at it in court, get it figured out, set the compensation per victim (if that is how things wrap up), and have a payout number established for any future people that pop out of the woodwork.

Frankly, the worst this situation would be is institutional negligence or failure to supervise or something along those lines. Even the “conclusions” of the Freeh report are hearsay and circumstantial at best.

August 26, 2012 at 1:46 PM 
Blogger CharlieSix said...

1) No Philadelphia judge will send this case back to central PA because if jurisdiction is establishied in Philadelphia, which must be the case or the lawyer would not have plead in the City, the judge has no choice but to dealwith it. And you can bank lots of money on the fact that the Penn State legal team will not challenge the jurisdiction of the Court of Common Pleas of the City of Philadelphia. It would be a losing proposition from the outset.

2) No court will ever compel all of the "plaintiffs" to be combined into one group. Even if the Penn State legal team were to attempt to force that they would be wasting their time (and their client's money).

3) If one accepts the reality of 1) and 2) above, this point is moot. No chance of it happening.

All of that said, I am and will remain convinced that this was not a case of "institutional negligence or failure to supervise?" that should have ever resulted in the punishment that Pennsylvania State University has and will continue to face. It was a failure of only a few individuals, not a University as a whole.

Penn State has campuses across the Commonwealth that are now being threatened for their existence by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education's threat to revoke the University's accreditation status solely based on the Freeh report. How the members of the MSA CHE can justify that type of action is as unconsionable as the Freeh report that spawned the Commission's pronoucement.

The Freeh report points to four people who are alleged to have engaged in not following up as required on Sandusky's crimes. For the Commission on Higher Education to punish literally thousands of dedicated faculty, administrators, and support staff based on the alleged, yet unproven, failures of four individuals is beyond the pale.

August 26, 2012 at 9:27 PM 
Blogger MediaMike said...

@ Charlie:

- I’m not quite sure how jurisdiction can be established in a Philadelphia courtroom. Although I would much rather turn a 3 hour plus ride to the Happy Valley into a 20 minute ride into Philadelphia for Penn State trips, I don’t recall Spanier, Curley, Shultz, Paterno, or the real criminal Sanduksy having offices of their own in Philadelphia. I think that argument in the coming weeks will be some interesting legal wrangling.

- I am relatively sure that Middle States is 100% blowing smoke with threats over the status of Penn State’s accreditation. The elements of this case that relate to school governance are really the only thing that would fall under the Middle States accreditation process. The governance element of a school’s accreditation via Middle States, at most, comprises 1/15th of what Middle States evaluates. I would agree with you that it was quite irresponsible for the Middle States organization to start a rhetorical sniper attack on the school. I just don’t think there is any plausible scenario that loses Penn State its accreditation.

- I think we basically agree that the University, as a whole, is being given too much blame for the actions of a few. You are somewhat further down that continuum than I, but I think we share the view that there wasn’t anything conspiratorial taking place. The actual chain of McQueary events being a complete mystery coupled with the failure of Ray Gricar to prosecute Sandusky in 1998 (and then disappearing) throws some major impediments into any determination of the liability of the school. I just wish the parties involved could reach some type of reasonable and final settlement to allow everybody to move on.

August 27, 2012 at 5:15 AM 

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