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Friday, October 12, 2007

Duke Case — Pressler Sues Duke

Mike Pressler sues Duke UniversityRay Gronberg / Herald-Sun
Pressler sues Duke over LAX firing -- Former Duke men's lacrosse coach Mike Pressler filed suit against the university this week, alleging that the school violated the terms of a confidential settlement arising from his forced resignation last year.

Pressler and his attorneys alleged that Duke violated the agreement by allowing university spokesman John Burness to twice make comments disparaging the former coach.

One of the comments appeared in an April 9 article published in Newsday, a New York newspaper. It quoted Burness as saying that coaches are responsible for the behavior of their teams and that the difference between Pressler and his successor, current lacrosse coach John Danowski, was "night and day."

The other comment appeared in a June Associated Press article and quoted Burness that after the controversy sparked by what proved to be false rape allegations lodged against three team members, a coaching change was essential for the team to move forward.

Pressler's suit, filed Thursday in state Superior Court in Durham, alleges that Duke officials have made other defamatory and disparaging comments about him. It asks a judge to void the settlement and hold a jury trial on the former coach's wrongful-termination claim. [...]
LieStoppers forum: Pressler files suit against Duke U.- Breaking
KC Johnson: Update

comment: The April 9th Steven Marcus Newsday article that quotes Duke Vice President John Burness saying there will be no apologies to the indicted lacrosse players and making other comment(s) about Mike Pressler is no longer on Newsday's web site. A few quotes from the article were:
"Even if all charges are dropped against the three players, Burness believes other legal hurdles exist for the university. "We're expecting that there's probably going to be civil suits from folks trying to get money out of us, that comes with the turf."

Burness said there is a segment of the population that has asked him if Duke will apologize to the players if their legal problems disappear. "I said," Burness replied, "for what?"


A major component in the Duke assessment was coaching. "One of the things we certainly have come to understand in this case is that the coaches in general in each of our sports are responsible for the behavior of their teams," Burness said. That's why Duke doesn't have the same coach, Mike Pressler.

Former Hofstra coach John Danowksi, who took over for Pressler, has added needed transparency. His team is an open book. Nothing is off limits. "Danowski is night and day," Burness said. "As our president (Richard H. Brodhead) said, `This guy's a mench. This guy gets it.' ''


None of the three have attempted to return to Duke, where as one administrator said, they are "no choirboys," regardless of the outcome of the legal matters.
The Marcus/Burness Newsday article was discussed in April 2007 by the following:

Duke Basketball Report: Duke, Lacrosse, & Alcohol
KC Johnson: Channeling Selena Roberts
KC Johnson: Responding to Marcus
Topix/Newsday: [see comments] Duke looks within...
FODU: Burness
Anne Blythe / News & Observer:
Former lacrosse coach sues Duke -- Mike Pressler, the Duke University lacrosse coach fired amid the 2006 rape allegations, has filed suit against the university despite a settlement agreement reached in the spring.

In the complaint filed in Durham today, Pressler alleges that Duke's chief spokesman made disparaging remarks about him to a New York newspaper in April, comments that violated the settlement.

Neither Pressler nor his lawyer, Jay Trehy of Raleigh, could be reached for comment tonight.

After learning that the suit was filed, Pamela Bernard, Duke's vice president and general counsel, promised to fight the claim. [...]

Since losing his job, Pressler has spent much time criss-crossing the country promoting his book, "It's Not About the Truth: The Untold Story of the Duke Lacrosse Case and the Lives It Shattered."

The book was Pressler's first extensive comments about a sexual assault case that crumbled.
Aaron Beard / AP:
Former lacrosse coach Mike Pressler files lawsuit against Duke
Ex-Lacrosse Coach Sues Duke, Says School Violated Settlement
Duke Chronicle:
Pressler files suit against University -- Former men's lacrosse head coach Mike Pressler has filed suit against the University, officials confirmed Friday afternoon.

The suit is related to Pressler's settlement with the University, reached last spring. Neither Pressler nor his lawyer could be reached immediately for comment. A Duke official said in a statement that the claim is baseless.

"Mr. Pressler, aided by his attorney, reached a fair and final financial agreement with Duke University in the spring of 2007," University Counsel Pam Bernard said. "We are disappointed that he is now trying to undo that agreement with an unfounded claim against Duke. We will address the matter through the legal process and insist on honoring our existing agreement." [...]

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