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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
WEBCommentary Contributor
Author:  Michael J. Gaynor
Bio: Michael J. Gaynor
Date:  February 22, 2008
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YES!!!! Wronged Lacrosse Players Suing Duke!

Duke has been in cover up/move on mode for "good" reason: The truth about Duke is ugly. It was much more than "hardly blameless"; it was complicit and utterly shameless. In the name of political correctness and in the pursuit of a zoning variance, it manipulated the innocent players, permitted and even encouraged their persecution, and tried to move on by paying millions of dollars for confidentiality agreements.

The short version of my June 20, 2007 article titled "Duke case: Open letter to unindicted players" was an uncharacteristically terse two words: "SUE DUKE!"

The long version concluded:"[T]here is much good that can come from 'the fiasco' if those of you who do not fear retaliation, or have reason to be embarrassed, or believe (with others, including me) that the best interests of Duke (and society) will be served by litigating with Duke so that what Duke did wrong will be fully appreciated, suitably compensated and not repeated.

"So...PLEASE SUE DUKE!"

Bishop Rene Henry Gracida, who blogs under the name Ego Adsum, promptly posted my article on his website with this inspiring endorsement/explanation: "IN AN EARLIER POST EGO ADSUM railed against lawsuit abuse and now here he is urging a law suit. What gives? Well, EGO ADSUM is against frivolous lawsuits and he is especially outraged by the complicity of judges in allowing frivolous lawsuits to proceed beyond the initial hearing on the case. But EGO ADSUM is even more outraged by the injustices perpetrated on students by politically-correct faculty and administration of the colleges and universities across the United States. One of the most outrageous examples of such injustice was to be found in the reaction of the administration of Duke University and some of its faculty to the accusations made against the members of the Lacrosse team of the University by the strip artist. EGO ADSUM is completely in favor of students who have been dealt an injustice by their college or university filing a lawsuit against the school seeking damages."

Amen, Your Excellency!

Unlike their three wrongly and wrongfully indicted but finally exonerated teammates (Reade Seligmann, Collin Finnerty and David Evans), nearly all of their teammates chose to take the field against their University by file complaints in federal court instead of settling confidentially or doing nothing.

Thanks be to God!

And much deserved congratulations to Charles Cooper and his colleagues at Cooper & Kirk for a superb complaint just filed on behalf of 38 team members that smartly added plenty of Durham defendants (but none of the DNA Security Defendants included in Robert Ekstrand's earlier complaint on behalf of three other teammates).

The press release that accompanied the complaint filing evidences the problems finally facing the political correctness prostitutes at Duke.

For Immediate Release

38 Duke Lacrosse Team Members Unite to Sue Duke University and City of Durham Over Corrupt 2006 Rape Allegations and Investigation

Suit Says University Leaders Capitulated to Mob Pressure, Sacrificed Team to Protect its Image

More than three dozen members of the 2006 Duke University men’s lacrosse team and members of their families filed suit against Duke University, its President Richard Brodhead and other officials, Duke’s medical center, and the City of Durham and city officials for emotional distress and other injuries in connection with false rape charges and a corrupt police investigation against team members in 2006.

The charges were dismissed and the players exonerated by North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper in April 2007 after he took over the investigation from the local district attorney, Michael Nifong. Nifong was disbarred for violating legal ethics in his conduct of the investigation. Three players had been charged with a gang rape of an exotic dancer who was hired to entertain at a team party in March 2006.

The suit, filed today in U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina, said University officials remained silent even though they possessed convincing evidence of the players’ innocence and also “lent credibility to the rape allegations by capitulating to an angry mob’s demands to condemn and punish the innocent players and their blameless coach.”

University Leaders Stood Silent While Team Members Were Harassed

“For more then a year, the lacrosse players were caught up in a horrifying personal nightmare. They were harassed in class by teachers and their fellow students. They were the target of protest marches and threats; they were called rapists and racists; they were surrounded in their own homes by screaming protestors. They were victimized by a corrupt investigation that ignored or suppressed evidence that would have cleared them. And, all for a crime that never took place,” lead attorney Chuck Cooper said in announcing the lawsuit.

The suit says that Brodhead and other Duke officials actively blinded themselves to and suppressed exculpatory evidence; discredited exculpatory evidence that had been publicly disclosed; stood passively while faculty and student protestors waged a campaign of abuse and harassment against the lacrosse team members; issued statements and imposed discipline on the team that signaled the players’ guilt; and remained silent when an inexperienced nurse at its medical center falsely characterized a medical exam at Duke Hospital as indicating that a rape had taken place. Brodhead later conceded that Duke students and faculty “were quick to speak as if the charges were true.”

Cooper said the University turned its back on the players in a bid to protect its own image.

Cooper noted that Nifong could not be named in the lawsuit because of the protections offered him by federal bankruptcy law. But the suit strongly condemned Nifong and his investigators for hiding and fabricating evidence, tampering with and intimidating witnesses, rigging photo lineups, and ignoring and hiding DNA and other evidence that demonstrated the players’ innocence. He said the City of Durham must be held responsible for Nifong’s misconduct, who was motivated in part by his desire to boost his flagging election campaign.

Suit Demands Accountabilty; Aims to Find the Full Truth

The suit seeks underdetermined monetary damages, but Cooper said the suit seeks the full truth and accountability of those whose misconduct caused and prolonged the lacrosse team’s ordeal.

“These young men want an acknowledgment that they were wronged by institutions and individuals that they trusted to treat them honestly. The pain and suffering they experienced cannot be erased; the misconduct of the University and town officials cannot be undone. But this suit will enable them to learn the full truth, to put the facts in plain view in a court of law, and to hold Duke’s leaders and town officials accountable for their wrongdoing.” Cooper said.

The players and their parents are represented by the law firm of Cooper & Kirk, PLLC, in Washington, D.C.

More information about this lawsuit, including a downloadable PDF of the complaint and other materials about the case can be found at www.dukelawsuit.com.

SOURCE Cooper & Kirk, PLLC

In addition, Cooper & Kirk provided this convenient case summary:

This action for damages is brought by 38 of the 47 members of the 2006 Duke University men’s lacrosse team, and by certain members of their families. (Names of the plaintiffs and defendants can be found appending this summary and on the complaint.) For 13 months in 2006-2007 these students were reviled almost daily in the local and national media as a depraved gang of privileged, white hooligans who had hired a black exotic dancer to perform at a team party, had brutally gang raped and sodomized her in a crowded bathroom, and had joined together in a “wall of silence” to hide the truth of their heinous crimes. But it was a vile and shameful lie, and it caused the plaintiffs tremendous suffering and grievous, lasting injuries.

PLAINTIFFS

As noted above, the plaintiffs are 38 of the 47 members of the 2006 Duke University men’s lacrosse team and certain of their family members. The plaintiffs include: nine (9) members of the Duke class of 2006; nine (9) members of the Duke class of 2007; eleven (11) members of the Duke class of 2008; nine (9) members of the Duke class of 2009.

DEFENDANTS

The individual defendants in this suit are chiefly (1) Durham and Duke officials who corruptly seized upon and exploited Crystal Mangum’s lie about an alleged rape (this deeply mentally disturbed, drug-dependant young woman is not named) to advance their own career ambitions, to further their own ideological agendas, and/or to gratify their own personal prejudices; and (2) Duke officials who possessed convincing evidence of the players’ innocence and who had a responsibility to their students to speak out, but who not only steadfastly remained silent, but also lent Duke’s credibility to the rape allegations by capitulating to an angry mob’s demands to condemn and punish the innocent players and their blameless coach.

ALLEGATIONS

There are 31 counts in the complaint alleging violations of state law and violations of federal law, including the United States Constitution.

A. Duke Defendants

Against the Duke Defendants specifically the complaint, among other claims, alleges:

• Intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress based on the false and misleading information about the medical and physical evidence of rape provided by Levicy to the Durham Investigators that spurred on the rape investigation, the active suppression of exculpatory evidence, conduct and statements that maligned the lacrosse players and active conspiracy with the Durham Investigators and Supervisors.

• Breach of various duties of care owed the plaintiffs including the duty of care in conducting and reporting of forensic medical examination and the duty to warn of the hazards created by the Duke Defendants in providing false and misleading information to the Durham Investigators and not disclosing exculpatory information in their exclusive possession.

• Fraud, negligent misrepresentation, abuse of process, and violations of fourth amendment rights based on Duke University’s disclosure of confidential key card reports to the Durham Investigators in violation of FERPA and Duke’s attempt to cover-up that illegal disclosure by collaborating in the issuance and use of a sham subpoena.

• Fraud through abuse of the confidential relationship between various Duke Defendants and the lacrosse players during the rape hoax crisis when defendants advised team members not to tell their parents and not to seek or obtain legal representation and by steering the players to Duke’s chosen advisor, Defendant Wes Covington.

• Breach of duty based on Duke’s special relationship with its student athletes. Duke failed in its duty to seek to protect these students from harassment, harm to their reputation, a rogue criminal investigation

•Breach of contract for Duke’s failure to follow and enforce its own anti-harassment policy, cancellation of the lacrosse season, violation of procedural rights.

B. Durham Defendants

Against the Durham Defendants, the complaint alleges, among other claims, claims for:

• Deprivation of property without due process of law in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for a malicious investigation that caused reputational injury and lost educational opportunities

• False public statements in violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983

• Violation of 42 U.S.C. § 1983 under Monell v. Dep’t of Soc. Servs.

• Negligence including negligent supervision, hiring and discipline

• Intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress

DAMAGES

Plaintiffs have asked for damages in an amount to be established at trial as compensation for injuries to reputation, emotional suffering, past and future economic losses, invasion of privacy, constitutional deprivations, loss of educational and athletic opportunities, loss of future career prospects, legal and other expenses, and other injuries proximately caused and enhanced by defendants’ wrongful conduct; and for damages, in an amount to be established at trial, to punish defendants for fraudulent, willful and wanton, and malicious conduct; to punish defendants for outrageous conduct pursued with actual malice that recklessly and callously disregarded plaintiffs’ physical and emotional well-being and constitutional rights; to discourage defendants from engaging in similar conduct in the future; and to deter others similarly situated from engaging in similar wrongful conduct.

PLAINTIFFS [Check website for the names of the 47 plaintiffs.]

DEFENDANTS [Check website for names and descriptions of 29 defendants.]

ON TO DISCOVERY!

Professor John F. Banzhaf III, Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University Law School, is encouraging Duke to cross-claim or separately sue Durham, on the theory that "the University was also a major victim of Nifong's vendetta against the Duke lacrosse players."

Professor Banzhaf:

"Duke, while hardly blameless, was also a major victim of a runaway prosecutor, and has probably suffered millions of dollars of harm to its reputation, and in expenditures it has been forced to make as a result of this legal fiasco.

"There is every temptation for Duke to try for a quick settlement to avoid further expense and harm to its reputation, so such a result would not be unexpected."

"However, if Duke decides to stand up and fight, it should fight as an aggressor and plaintiff against those chiefly responsible for the harm to the University and its students, rather than simply adopting a defensive posture and trying to justify what it did under circumstances which would try any university."

Duke has been in cover up/move on mode for "good" reason: The truth about Duke is ugly. It was much more than "hardly blameless"; it was complicit and utterly shameless. In the name of political correctness and in the pursuit of a zoning variance, it manipulated the innocent players, permitted and even encouraged their persecution, and tried to move on by paying millions of dollars for confidentiality agreements.

The Duke case is academia political correctness's equivalent of the Catholic Church's pedophile priest scandal and the proper solution is ascertaining the truth and correcting the problem, not covering up and pretending that there is no need for correction.

Best wishes to Cooper & Kirk in demonstrating that despicable Duke University President Richard Brodhead is worse than a jerk. (Note to Mr. Cooper: for information of Mr. Brodhead as an alleged scholar, give America's Herman Melville expert, discerning Delaware University Professor Hershel Parker, a holler.)

Michael J. Gaynor

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Biography - Michael J. Gaynor

Michael J. Gaynor has been practicing law in New York since 1973. A former partner at Fulton, Duncombe & Rowe and Gaynor & Bass, he is a solo practitioner admitted to practice in New York state and federal courts and an Association of the Bar of the City of New York member.

Gaynor graduated magna cum laude, with Honors in Social Science, from Hofstra University's New College, and received his J.D. degree from St. John's Law School, where he won the American Jurisprudence Award in Evidence and served as an editor of the Law Review and the St. Thomas More Institute for Legal Research. He wrote on the Pentagon Papers case for the Review and obscenity law for The Catholic Lawyer and edited the Law Review's commentary on significant developments in New York law.

The day after graduating, Gaynor joined the Fulton firm, where he focused on litigation and corporate law. In 1997 Gaynor and Emily Bass formed Gaynor & Bass and then conducted a general legal practice, emphasizing litigation, and represented corporations, individuals and a New York City labor union. Notably, Gaynor & Bass prevailed in the Second Circuit in a seminal copyright infringement case, Tasini v. New York Times, against newspaper and magazine publishers and Lexis-Nexis. The U.S. Supreme Court affirmed, 7 to 2, holding that the copyrights of freelance writers had been infringed when their work was put online without permission or compensation.

Gaynor currently contributes regularly to www.MichNews.com, www.RenewAmerica.com, www.WebCommentary.com, www.PostChronicle.com and www.therealitycheck.org and has contributed to many other websites. He has written extensively on political and religious issues, notably the Terry Schiavo case, the Duke "no rape" case, ACORN and canon law, and appeared as a guest on television and radio. He was acknowledged in Until Proven Innocent, by Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, and Culture of Corruption, by Michelle Malkin. He appeared on "Your World With Cavuto" to promote an eBay boycott that he initiated and "The World Over With Raymond Arroyo" (EWTN) to discuss the legal implications of the Schiavo case. On October 22, 2008, Gaynor was the first to report that The New York Times had killed an Obama/ACORN expose on which a Times reporter had been working with ACORN whistleblower Anita MonCrief.

Gaynor's email address is gaynormike@aol.com.


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