Judge Rules for McQueary on Whistleblower Claim, Adds $5 Million in Damages
by Geoff Rushton
A specially-presiding judge on Wednesday ruled in Mike McQueary’s favor on his claim that Penn State violated the state’s whistleblower law in its treatment of him and awarded the former Penn State football assistant coach an additional $5 million in damages.
In October, a Centre County jury found in McQueary’s favor on claims of defamation and misrepresentation, awarding him $7.3 million in damages. Penn State later filed a motion for that verdict to be set aside.
Judge Thomas Gavin heard the whistleblower claim simultaneously during the two-week trial and said he would issue his ruling at a later date. He awarded McQueary $3.97 million in past and future economic losses and $1 million in non-economic losses for harm to his reputation and humiliation. Penn State also was ordered to pay legal fees and the bonus he would have received for coaching in the 2012 Ticket City Bowl.
McQueary’s suit claimed Penn State retaliated against him for cooperating with prosecutors in the child sexual abuse investigation of Jerry Sandusky. McQueary was placed on paid administrative leave in November 2011 after it was revealed he was the witness who testified to a grand jury about having seen Sandusky abusing a boy in a locker room shower in 2001. His contract was not renewed the following spring.
McQueary testified that he has not been able to find work in coaching or virtually any other profession since that time and that Penn State’s actions had poisoned his reputation
His suit also claimed that former administrators Tim Curley and Gary Schultz intentionally misrepresented what they would do with his 2001 report to them. Curley and Schultz were both charged in 2011 for their alleged handling of that incident, and McQueary also said that statements of support by then President Graham Spanier defamed him by implying that Curley and Schultz had been truthful and McQueary had not.
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Penn State will join an amicus brief written in support of a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security and ICE regarding the new rules.
The conference believes the move will give teams the flexibility they need to keep players and staffs safe.
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