By Steve Bauer
An attorney for Penn State’s former fencing coach says he’ll file a federal lawsuit against the university Thursday morning.
In the lawsuit Emmanuil Kaidanov will reportedly demand damages — and he wants his old job back.
Emmanuil Kaidanov left his job under hazy circumstances last August. Kaidanov’s sudden departure ended a distinguished 31-year career during which he led his teams to a combined 12 NCAA championships. It was an unpopular decision with his team, which spoke out against the move.
“I anticipate filing the complaint [Thursday] morning in Philadelphia in federal district court,” says attorney Alvin de Levie. de Levie declined to get into details about the lawsuit but said, “I can tell you the complaint will be seeking reinstatement and punitive damages against all the defendants.”
According to de Levie, the defendants named in the lawsuit will include Penn State, athletic director David Joyner and integrity officer Julie Del Giorno.
Under Kaidanov (pronounced kigh-DAN-off) the men’s program went 403-36. The women’s team compiled a 392-41 record.
His teams won NCAA titles in 1990, 1991, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2007, 2009, and 2010. Kaidanov’s fencers also raked in 28 NCAA Individual Titles. He also coached 10 Olympians and 188 All-Americans.
“Kaidanov will be seeking compensatory damages against all of the defendants including back pay and what they call front pay. …Front pay is what you may lose in the future,” de Levie said.
Last fall, de Levie told StateCollege.com that Kaidanov was fired after an incident involving a member of the women’s fencing team and a secretary. de Levie said the secretary thought she saw a fencer with drugs. A drug test cleared the student of any wrongdoing.
According to de Levie, Kaidanov investigated to see who reported the alleged offense. When Kaidanov found out about the secretary he told the woman she should have come to him first. Penn State called that retaliation against an employee, and Kaidanov was fired because of it, de Levie says.
Penn State has refused to divulge details about the case. Penn State spokesperson Lisa Powers says the matter of Kaidanov’s departure is confidential. “We are not at liberty to discuss it,” Powers said in an email. “I can confirm that he no longer is a University employee.”
Asked for comment about the promised lawsuit Powers says the university has not been notified about a court filing and in any case could not comment on pending litigation.