Penn State filed its challenge to former assistant coach Mike McQueary's whistle blower, defamation and misrepresentation lawsuit today, asking the court to dismiss the claims.
In the challenge, Penn State also claims that McQueary cannot seek punitive damages. McQueary's request for damages is based on an allegation that the former university President Graham Spanier acted with "actual malice and/or reckless disregard for the truth," when he pledged to help exonerate former Penn State Athletic Director Tim Curley and former interim Senior Vice President for Finance and Business Gary Schultz in a statement on Penn State Live, Nancy Conrad wrote on behalf of Penn State.
Conrad wrote that McQueary's complaint is "devoid of sufficient facts to support a claim that Spanier or Penn State acted with evil motive or in reckless indifference to the rights of others." She also wrote that McQueary's complaint lacks enough facts to support a claim that Curley or Schultz acted "with evil motive" when they met with him in 2001, after McQueary said he witnessed former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky in the showers of a Penn State locker room sexually abusing a boy. Consequently, McQueary's claim for punitive damages should be dismissed, Conrad wrote.
McQueary's defamation claim should be dismissed because Spanier's expression of unconditional support for Curley and Schultz in November 2011 doesn't qualify as defamation against McQueary, Conrad wrote.
McQueary's complaint read that Curley and Schultz "intentionally misrepresented... that they thought this was a serious matter, that they would see that it was properly investigated, and that appropriate action would be taken."
Schultz and Curley's "alleged unfulfilled future promises" don't provide enough support for McQueary's claim of misrepresentation, and the former Penn State administrator's statements are too remote to cause McQueary's alleged harm, Conrad wrote.
McQueary complaint argues he is now "labeled and branded as being part of a cover-up," because he trusted Schultz and Curley would take action.
McQueary claims Penn State treated him in a discriminatory fashion and ended his employment because he cooperated with the state Attorney General's and grand jury's investigation of Sandusky. But Conrad argues his complaint doesn't specifically reference the Pennsylvania Whistleblower Law. Conrad argues McQueary doesn't have the legal grounds to make a similar common law wrongful discharge claim, because the law doesn't protect employees who are working under a fixed term contract.