Thursday, June 07, 2007

Pressler Settlement Announced

Another scoop for the AP's Aaron Beard: Duke spokesperson John Burness has formally confirmed that the institution reached what Burness termed "an amicable, fair financial settlement" with Pressler. The settlement was reached previously, but had not been publicly announced before today.

No details were released, but following on the heels of the Dowd settlement, this suggests a pattern in Duke's behavior: it 's hard to see how the institution would be well-served by attempting to contest civil suits.

Burness' statement strongly praised Pressler, while using the let's-move-forward mantra in recent days:
Coach Pressler is an excellent coach and did a great job building the Duke men's lacrosse program. Unfortunately last spring it was essential for the team to have a change of leadership in order to move forward.

42 comments:

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

And unfortunately for the Duke administration and G88 (but necessarily for any vestiges of justice to be preserved after their railroading of the coach and three athletes), it is now essential for every one of them to be stripped of leadership positions in order to move forward.

Anonymous said...

In a case of this magnitude there should be transparency. Alums should know what their donations are being used for.

Michael said...

You give a decade and a half of your life, train up a generation of kids, are recognized in your chosen profession and then stabbed in the back by your employer and have to put up with a rush to judgement.

I hope he's comfortable with the settlement, that it included an apology and that his book does well.

Michael said...

There's a very interesting post by Jim Cooney on LS about investigator
liability on dismissed cases.

Grand Jury questions

[Because the grand jury in this State is such an empty vessel, the law has adjusted. A person who is acquitted of a crime - - or against whom charges have been dismissed - - may sue for malicious prosecution against the investigators who testified to secure the indictment (including those who were acting in an investigative capacity). While the indictment is prima facie evidence of probable cause, it is not conclusive (or even presumptive) evidence that probable cause existed.]

Anonymous said...

JLS says...,

As I said on FreeRepublic, Duke is settling early and I would bet on very favorable terms for the plaintifs. Duke knows they can not afford open discovery in this matter.

If I were a Duke alum I would demand to know how much in total settlements Duke had paid out for Brodhead and the faculty's mishandling of this.

Heck since I wrote that on FR, I have had a new thought. Perhaps I should sue Duke over this matter. Surely I can think of some way they have damaged me and since I would have the same discovery right, I would get my fair share of the Duke endowment that all those leftist think the proletariat should have anyway.

Anonymous said...

Unfortunately last spring Broadhead was having visions of Lawrence Summers at Harvard, and decided he would sacrifice honor for self-preservation.

The sadest thing is, that everything that has happened since has only underscored that this was a legitamate fear. As our so-called leaders won't stand up to the shriekers but instead rush to appease them, I fear for the future.

gs said...

It sounds mercenary, but...

With the pattern established, if I was one of the Lax players I would sue. It's like shaking the money tree. Easy money for the lawyers and players.

Duke has to protect its image and they made a lot of skeletons during the hoax that they want to forget about.

Gary said...

Now, see, if they balanced out these payments by terminating the equivalent $s in G88 slots, we'd have perfect justice.

Anonymous said...

broadrot allegely using the endowment to pay off his mistakes...the height of irresponsibility...wonder if the alumni will contest where the money came from ?

ill bet it didnt come from broadrots pants

Michael said...

I get the feeling that Duke would like to have this behind them before the start of the Fall semester. So hopefully they're going to write somewhere around 46 checks in the next three months.

I think that KC's book is due around late summer and they'd be pretty happy to have the spotlight taken off them.

Anonymous said...

Just think for a minute. It won't take long. Just how much Duke would be sucked dry if these lacrosse players were black athletes and had been put through all of this.

There would be millions for Jamal and Juwan and Dwayne and Tariq and Taquille and Malik and all of UBUNTU's brothers and sisters until the end of time. Brodhead would have no head left after all the "reparations" had been paid for this injustice.

Anonymous said...

I'm happy for coach Pressler that he received some compensation for the way he was summarily treated by Duke. It's still sad that after all the time he put in, it was taken away forever due to lack of leadership by the school and terrible behaviour by fellow faculty. They all could have helped keep the situation calmer and more open to the lacrosse team in a positive way.

I too hope the book gives him new opportunity in lacrosse and lots of financial success. He has new kids to work with who are lucky to have him.

becket03 said...

Pressler apparently decided not to take a wrecking ball to Duke, which is what would have happened had he and Brodhead had a public, knock down, drag out fight. Videotape of Brodhead, Moneta, Alleva et al. being deposed would have made interesting viewing. Pressler is the only one who could have provided the public with that kind of material.

But I guess Pressler decided he'd unobtrusively grab a few mil from the endowment and get on with his coaching career. He's come out of this mess smelling like a rose, and very likely will be in line for a head coaching job at a top school as soon as a position opens up.

Kim Curtis is still there and Pressler got the boot. How pathetic is that? There's been a lot of talk lately about the robustness and resiliency of Duke's reputation, but I'm not so sure. I have a gut feeling that this case presages a longterm decline for the school.

beckett

Jerry said...

Why is it that only the good guys (Pressler, and the 3 players) have to "move on", while the jackasses retain their positions at Duke??

Anonymous said...

Becker - The Coach wrote a book with a reporter - how much more information can there be out there.

becket03 said...

Becker - The Coach wrote a book with a reporter - how much more information can there be out there.

1:25

My point is that under oath Brodhead, Moneta, Alleva et al. might have been put in the very uncomfortable position of disclosing how and when they reached decisions in the early days of the case at around the time Pressler was fired, some of which information might contradict either later statements or each other.

Pressler's book may contain all the information he had available to him, but testimony under oath would generate new information that would illuminate the reasoning of the Duke administration, and tell us more about what pressure groups might have affected the decision making process.

beckett

Anonymous said...

Happy for Coach Pressler and his family - they most definitely deserve it. I just finished reading Coach Pressler's book. Even though I have followed this case closely, I still learned quite a bit - and NONE of it favorable to Alleva, Brodhead, Nifong, or Burness.

Anonymous said...

A lot of excellent comments, especially 11:15 and 11:21. And, 11:52, great word to call these settlements "reparations". I hope you don't mind if I borrow it.

Now, can anyone guess at how much Duckie Buckies went to Pressler, or Dowd? I don't know, but I think it would be fun to speculate.

My guess for Dowd: $40,000 (just for the Curtis thing). For Pressler: $4 million.

Easy for me said...

If any one person had the chance to change Duke's corrupted culture, it was Pressler.

Not that I blame him for taking the money, but if he's the coach we've come know, it's doubtful he'll look back at the outcome as a vindication ~ much less a victory.

But like I said, easy for me...

Anonymous said...

Move forward, huh? Has anyone paused to define which direction Brodhead, Steel et al believe to be "forward"?

"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." - Inigo Montoya

Anonymous said...

Duke destroyed coach Pressler's career by not standing by him in the storm. He owes them nothing and was never going to change the culture at the University. It's so obvious to everyone that Pres. Broadhead handled this affair poorly from the get go.
Athletes are scorned and considered sub-standard students by those who don't participate in sports.
Athletes are income generating members of the community, not much more to the administration. Unless the President is/was an athlete as well, there is always a big disconnect between the administration and the athletic department.

It becomes important because America is a country where sports are important to a majority of people. As either a spectator or a team member, community building occurs around the activity of sport events. It's ironic that the most unathletic alums become the biggset fans of their teams when they leave. The cultural bias of intellectual elites about sports is disingenuous.
I believe this is where Pres. Broadhead and his g88 are coming from. They didn't give coach Pressler a chance to do his job in a crisis, because they don't understand or value the role a coach plays in young people's lives. They didn't look at the team as students in trouble, they looked at them as guilty white males. What happened at Duke to this day still sickens and frightens me.
As bad as it was for coach Pressler, the last thing he needs to do is try and change the culture at Duke, he succeeded there inspite of the culture for 16 years.
I think he is a very honorable man who is excellent at what he does. There are so many valuable life lessons that can't be explained unless you too have a passion and commitment to something as student athletes do to their sport. College students make mistakes> so do grownups in charge. I hope Duke comes around to theirs, but I'm not holding my breath.
Looking forward to hearing about the future settlements for the students who were harmed by Duke Administration actions.

Anonymous said...

Good detail from Beard:

"Pressler is the only Duke official who lost a job as a result of the case, even though an internal university investigation concluded he was the only school employee to take significant action when accusations of wrongdoing -- including disorderly conduct and public urination -- emerged about the lacrosse team."

If I were Duke, I'd offer to pay the bulk of the three defendants' legal fees -- but can they do so without compromising Seligmann and Finnerty's NCAA eligibility?

(The "46 checks" bit is way off base. No matter what you think of how Duke acted, those guys weren't going to have an easy time of it once the accusations came to light. Imagine if the lacrosse team had played a road game with the accusations made public. You think that would have been a safe environment? Come on, folks -- face reality. The situation was awful, and Duke couldn't have made it much better.)

Anonymous said...

The "46 checks" bit is way off base.

Who cares if they can prove damages?

The question is whether Duke will settle to avoid being dragged through the mud.

The answer appears to be yes.

Richard Aubrey said...

What kind of confidentiality agreement would Pressler have had to sign? He'd already written the book.
Either everything Duke feared getting out was already out, or there was more--not in the book--which Duke wanted kept in house.
With a confidentiality agreement, if one exists here, Duke is not allowed to contradict anything Pressler said.
If there'd been some discovery, we'd have heard Duke's side.
Ordinarily, we hear neither side, but in this case, we already have Pressler's.
So Duke must have figured they didn't have a leg to stand on. They didn't have a side.

Michael said...

re: 7:07

Were the 46 damaged by Duke's behaviour? Three have incurred huge legal bills. The rest have incurred legal bills too. And presumably still are.

Judge Smith mentioned the remaining work that he expects to take care of including expungement. This may be difficult for the three as I think that getting out of various databases is harder than getting in.

Anonymous said...

Well, I don't think you can assume that, because they settled with Dowd and Pressler, they would clearly settle with any player on the lacrosse team. While it's certainly possible that avoiding disclosures in discovery was a motivating factor for Duke, it's also clear that Dowd and especially Pressler could make cases against the university that they had a real chance of winning in court.

As 7:07 points out, it's much less clear that the other, non-indicted members of the lacrosse team have enough of a legal claim against Duke to get very far at all. If you don't get past a motion to dismiss, you don't get any discovery.

The same might be true for Dave Evans, who received his degree before he was indicted. Finnerty and Seligmann are probably in a different position; because they were suspended from school, they might we be able to at least state a claim against Duke that would get to discovery, should they choose to do so. I feel strongly that that choice is theirs to make: they have no obligation to sue in order to air Duke's (or Durham's) dirty linen, but only to decide what is best for them and their families.

As for Coach Pressler, I feel the same way. It's not his obligation to turn down an acceptable settlement in the hope of embarrassing the university through discovery, especially since his settlement apparently did not require him not to publish his book, which will be embarrassing enough. He has his family and his career to think about, and both of those could be damaged by protracted litigation, whether or not it was meritorious. (A lawsuit would take time and attention away from his current position, and future employers might shy away from a candidate they perceived as litigious--whether or not that's fair, it's just the way it is.)

Anonymous said...

Michael--
I think it would be pretty hard to argue that the legal bills of any of the non-indicted players were caused by the behavior of Duke. They were caused by the false accusation and the ensuing police and DA investigation.

The vast majority of the indicted students' legal fees also were not caused by Duke University, though it's possible there might be some portion of them that were attributable, say, to researching the impact of the listening statement and other faculty activity for purposes of the change of venue motion, as to which one could argue that they were "caused" by Duke as well as by the prosecution of the charges against the students.

Anonymous said...

Pompous asses like Brodhead aspire to leave "legacies." Brodhead will go down as, among other things, the most *expensive* president in Duke's modern era. Why the BOT doesn't "bend over" Brodhead and show him the door as they approve settlement check after settlement check utterly befuddles me. Instead, the BOT would evidently rather just "open the endowment vault" rather than actually "lance the cancer" that presently engulfs (and now defines) Duke. As the governing entity, the BOT has violated its core fiduciary duties. Duke deserves this ignominy, financial and other.

Richard Aubrey said...

Getting rid of Brodhead now won't solve the problems resulting from this case.
Brodhead's actions, though, do make him questionable as a leader of anything, much less Duke.
The question for the BOT is what Brodhead does when the next pile of doo-doo hits the fan.
We know he's worse than useless in a difficult situation. It would be irresponsible to keep him on, unless you can figure out a way to insure nothing interesting is going to happen until at least he retires.
There is the continuing but unquantifiable question of how much his presence damages public perception, applications by top-quality students, and alumni support.

Anonymous said...

To 8:38 AM,

You're missing an important point. As it stands right now, there's blood in the water and Duke has demonstrated that they'll settle rather than sit for embarassing depositions even if from a purely legal standpoint, they may be able to defend themselves. The blood will draw the sharks; just watch.

Lawyers tend to be very creative when assigning blame to the deepest pockets. As a former business owner, I know this from painful first-hand experience. The first time it happened, I was upset, but I got used to it simply as a cost of doing business. I never had a Board of Trustees, Alumni or Directors to answer to.

While I love the Duke I THOUGHT I sent my child to, I am sickened by the deep rot that I see exists in the University and I'm hoping a flood of litigation will prompt the Trustees to clean it up. Regardless of how many millions it ultimately costs; it will be worth it.

Anonymous said...

Good for Pressler . . . gets some cash for his ill treatment and still gets to kick the jerks who fired him with his book.

Anonymous said...

I hope my book is in today's mail but I'm wondering since I ordered both at once if Amazon will wait for KC's book before sending......anyone know?

Anonymous said...

9:43--
My 8:38 comment was directed specifically to Michael's assertion that the 46 were "damaged by Duke's behavior." Whether or not Duke might settle to avoid discovery is a different point. It's certainly possible, though as I noted in another comment (at 8:31), I don't think the settlements to Pressler and Dowd are CONCLUSIVE evidence that Duke would settle with others.

Anonymous said...

11:08--If you asked for Super Saver shipping, they will probably wait and mail both books together. If you are paying for standard shipping, I'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

I just answered my own question......the books aren't going to be delivered until September 12th......that is HUGELY ANNOYING!!!!!! I will have read Pressler's book several times by then!

Michael said...

re: 8:38

It's not too hard to find a list of the hostile education environment that the players had to endure. Or all of the little spite-related problems from other students.

There have been several comments on Dean Sue's legal advice to the lacrosse players too.

Michael said...

It's Not About The Truth

[The closing letter from Janet Pressler, Mike's teenage daughter, to Brodhead, eloquently sums up not only her or her family's pain but Brodhead's ineptitude.]

Ralph Phelan said...

"Unfortunately last spring Broadhead was having visions of Lawrence Summers at Harvard, and decided he would sacrifice honor for self-preservation."

Unlike SUmmers, he still has a job. By the values of modern academia he made the right choice.

Anonymous said...

11:10

You are absolutely right, there is no guarantee. But so far Broadhead and his brie & chablis crowd have shown an aversion to mud wrestling.

I'm hoping that at some point, Duke WILL have to submit to discovery. My money's on Finnerty as someone who has the wherewithall and the guts to go toe to toe with them. I'm ready, willing and able to contribute to legal fees if a suit develops and if I'm convinced it won't be quietly settled.

Anonymous said...

Michael--
still re 8:38
don't know if anyone is still checking this thread, and I admit I'm probably nitpicking now. I don't disagree that the things you mention in your 11:37 post were harmful to the lacrosse players (though I think it would be hard to hold the university as an institution responsible for "the little spite-related problems from other students" unless you could show that the university had some clear opportunity and responsibility to prevent these; in that respect I think they are different from issues like faculty members creating a hostile environment in the classroom). But I don't think any of these issues are reasons why the team members incurred legal fees (unless, like Kyle Dowd, they were exploring specific litigation against the university). They incurred legal fees because of the false allegations and the possibility that they would be charged.
Again, I admit, probably a nitpick. It's that kind of afternoon.

Anonymous said...

This man, Pressler, was judged and condemned before the facts were fully known. He was tried, judged, and condemned by the inflamed pubic opinion manipulated and presented by Group88. The leadership at Duke fell apart worst than the town's people in "High Noon" being asked by Gary Cooper to help enforce the law. Lacking courage, the only thing for these Duke people is to continue the "Big Lie." It is sad.

Anonymous said...

jesse comments like an absentee father...such moral authority he has...selling out for the gold