N’western movement to drop Fitzgerald case rejected

  • Adam Rittenberg, ESPN

    • Senior Citizen WriterApr 2, 2024, 06:49 PM ET Close College football reporter.
    • Joined ESPN.com in 2008.
    • Graduate of Northwestern University.Northwestern’s motion to dismiss the$

    130 million wrongful termination suit filed by former coach Pat Fitzgerald was denied Tuesday, setting up a possible trial in April 2025. Cook County Circuit Court judge Daniel Kubasiak ruled that the case from Fitzgerald can proceed and set a trial date for April 7, 2025. Northwestern fired Fitzgerald in July, simply 3 days after imposing a two-week, unsettled suspension for the coach, following the conclusion of an investigation into hazing claims within the football program.Fitzgerald, a two-time nationwide defensive player of the year at Northwestern, had actually coached at his alma mater because 2006.”This matter is, in its most basic kind, an employer-employee debate,”Kubasiak wrote in his viewpoint Tuesday.” As Fitzgerald argues, and as the Court agrees, in every agreement there is an implied doctrine of excellent faith and reasonable dealing, which is yet to be identified in this matter.”Fitzgerald submitted his claim in October, claiming that Northwestern breached a verbal contract by shooting him for cause, after consenting to the suspension following the conclusion of its own investigation. He likewise claimed Northwestern and university president Michael Schill breached his written contract. Fitzgerald is looking for 68 million that stayed on his agreement, which ran through 2030, in addition to future earnings losses of around$62 million.Editor’s Picks “Since the entire motion to dismiss was rejected today, our plan is clear and

simple-we are going to move this case forward and expeditiously to trial, which is set for April 7, 2025, “Fitzgerald’s lawyers, Dan Webb and Matthew Carter, stated in a statement.” We will take all actions required to pursue Coach Fitzgerald’s serious claims and to protect his rights, name, and credibility.”At a February hearing, Fitzgerald’s lawyers had pushed for a December trial, arguing that it would allow him to avoid missing a 3rd season of training at the college or professional level. Northwestern lawyer Reid Schar stated then that while the 2025 date is” aggressive,”it’s more achievable than December, citing a large number of discovery files that most likely could just be examined by the end of June. Kubasiak, at the very same hearing, motivated both sides to settle the case.After receiving a problem about hazing within the program in November 2022, the university launched an investigation in January 2023, led by lawyer Maggie Hickey. The probe found that while claims of hazing from a previous player were mainly substantiated, there was not sufficient evidence that Fitzgerald and other coaches and personnel knew the incidents. But Northwestern lawyer Reid Schar argued at the February hearing that extra claims of hazing from previous Northwestern players triggered Schill’s choice to fire Fitzgerald.

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