Northwestern hazing scandal sparks lawsuit, draws outstanding lawyers

NCAA Football: Duke at Northwestern

Evanston, Illinois, United states of america Northwestern Wildcats head mentor Pat Fitzgerald looks on through the initial quarter towards the Duke Blue Devils at Ryan Area. Required Credit score: Patrick Gorski-United states of america Nowadays Sporting activities

July 18 (Reuters) – A former Northwestern College football player on Tuesday sued the Evanston, Illinois faculty and its fired head coach Patrick Fitzgerald, claiming Fitzgerald took component in harassment, hazing, bullying and assault of pupil athletes that the university enabled.

The unnamed player’s lawsuit appears to be the very first to be filed since the hazing scandal 1st erupted previously this thirty day period, fascinating the college and attracting a escalating cadre of significant-profile attorneys from Chicago and elsewhere.

A spokesperson for Northwestern declined to remark on the lawsuit but explained the university has taken action to reduce hazing.

“The complaint has no validity as to Mentor Fitzgerald and we will aggressively protect in opposition to these allegations with points and proof,” Fitzgerald’s lawyer Dan Webb, who co-prospects U.S. regulation company Winston & Strawn, explained in a assertion.

Northwestern on July 7 explained it had hired Maggie Hickey, a veteran investigator and former federal prosecutor from law company ArentFox Schiff, to probe allegations of hazing in its football plan pursuing an anonymous grievance.

Fitzgerald was suspended for two weeks as section of the university’s initial reaction to the conclusions of Hickey’s staff. He was fired on July 10 after college student newspaper The Everyday Northwestern printed a story describing alleged hazing of the school’s soccer gamers.

Components of the newspaper’s report ended up reiterated in Tuesday’s lawsuit, which said freshman gamers were compelled to strip naked and crawl in entrance of the staff, or compelled to rub up towards a line of bare gentlemen while finding sprayed with a hose as part of “the carwash.”

Fitzgerald explained past 7 days that he experienced hired Webb, a former Chicago U.S. lawyer and nationally outstanding defense law firm. Webb led the Winston group representing Fox Information and Fox Corp in a defamation lawsuit submitted by Dominion Voting Techniques that finished in a $787.5 million settlement in April.

The lawsuit was filed in Cook County Circuit Court docket by a group of legislation companies that consists of Chicago’s Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, a personalized personal injury firm that has won far more than $2 billion in verdicts and settlements.

Before this calendar year the company, led by Patrick Salvi, assisted acquire a $408 million settlement in litigation around a chemical utilised to sterilize healthcare products.

Far more Northwestern lawsuits may be coming. Civil rights lawyer Ben Crump explained on Sunday that he is symbolizing at minimum eight former Northwestern athletes. In a statement he accused coaches at the college of “enabling a toxic, disgusting, and harming tradition”.

Crump’s earlier purchasers have integrated the family members of George Floyd, whose 2020 murder kicked off protests against racial injustice around the globe, and the heirs of songwriter Ed Townsend, who unsuccessfully sued British pop star Ed Sheeran in a carefully watched copyright lawsuit.

Crump, whose firm now has eight U.S. offices, has teamed up with Chicago particular harm firm Levin & Perconti for the Northwestern matter.

Reporting by David Thomas

Our Criteria: The Thomson Reuters Rely on Principles.

David Thomas reports on the small business of legislation, like legislation organization approach, selecting, mergers and litigation. He is based mostly out of Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.

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