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Judge Dismisses Former Penn State Football Physician’s Lawsuit Against James Franklin

Former Penn State Director of Athletic Medicine and Penn State football orthopedic physician Scott Lynch’s lawsuit against James Franklin and Penn State was dismissed Wednesday afternoon by a Dauphin County judge.

According to Judge Andrew H. Dowling, Lynch filed his whistleblower claims three days past a 180-day deadline. The former team physician alleged Franklin interfered with medial decisions made by team doctors, and claimed that officials retaliated when he reported the wrongdoing.

The suit was seeking an excess of $50,000 in damages and named six defendants, including Franklin, athletic director Sandy Barbour, and associate athletic director Charmelle Green.

Lynch was technically fired from his position at Penn State no later than February 21, 2019, as Dowling explained that he participated in an exit interview on that date. The suit was filed on August 23, 2019 — therefore past the 180-day deadline.

“Thus, it is evident that Plaintiff knew he was definitively being discharged from his duties at Penn State no later than February 21, 2019, and likely knew prior to this date,” Dowling wrote. “As a result, the 180 day limitations period began no later than August 20, 2019. Since Plaintiff filed his claim on August 23, 2019, his claims for violation of the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Act are time-barred, and he may not pursue them.”

“It might appear that this is a harsh result, but, as noted above, the 180 day limitations period is mandatory and may not be extended by the Court by even one day,” Dowling added.

As a result of the dismissal, Franklin, Barbour, Green, and Penn State University are no longer listed as defendants in the case. Claims against the Penn State Hershey Medical Center — where Lynch is currently an orthopedic surgeon — remain. Claims against Penn State Health chair of orthopedics and rehabilitation Kevin Black also remain.

Black allegedly claimed that the reason for Lynch’s removal was: “an interest in having orthopedic contract services rendered by an orthopedic surgeon who resided in State College, PA as opposed to Hershey, PA,” which the suit referred to as a “false narrative.”

The university and Franklin have disputed the allegations since they were raised in August.

Lynch has been employed by the Hershey Medical Center and Penn State College of Medicine since 1998 and was appointed Director of Athletic Medicine in 2014.

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About the Author

Will Pegler

Will is a senior majoring in digital and print journalism and is an associate editor for Onward State. He is from Darien, Connecticut and is a lifelong Penn State football fan. He loves a good 80's comedy movie, Peaky Blinders, The Office, and the New York Yankees and Giants. You can catch some of his ridiculous sports takes on his Twitter @gritdude and yell at him on his email [email protected]

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