Court Rules Paternos Can Challenge Consent Decree
Centre Country Judge John Leete ruled that the Paterno v. NCAA lawsuit has legal standing to move forward today.
According to the filing, the court must accept that the plaintiff’s assertion that the consent decree was filed through an “illegal and unauthorized” exercise of the NCAA’s authority for the purposes of initial legal standing. The court is not necessarily making a final determination that the claim is true, but the case can now move forward to discovery.
This lawsuit, not to be confused with the one between the NCAA and Pennsylvania, was filed in May 2013 by the Paterno estate and a handful of former football players with the intent of nullifying the consent decree. In the filing, the court denied the NCAA’s motion that, although the Paterno estate and former trustee Al Clemens are third parties to the consent decree, they don’t have standing to seek the consent decree voided. The court also found that this case is “unique” because the alleged doesn’t come from the “action, duty, or relationship” of the consent decree, but from the language included within. After this week’s news that the sanctions would be relaxed, the lawsuit is essentially fighting for reputation and the restoration of Paterno’s wins.
The court ruled that some of the NCAA’s objections were valid, and others were not. Notably, the court ruled against an NCAA claim that involved individuals could not sue.
“To claim the Plaintiff’s do not have standing to bring suit against the NCAA for not following their own rules because NCAA did not follow their own rules is circuitous logic, which the court finds to be against the interest of judgement,’ Judge Leete ruled.
This is the second notable news to come from a Penn State-related lawsuit recently — last week, the NCAA said Pennsylvania could keep the $60 million fine money in state in the Commonwealth’s lawsuit.