U.C.L.A. Faces Judgment Day with U.C. Regents, and Perhaps Lawmakers
U.C.L.A. faces judgment day on whether to file a case against its members in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. If it files, the case could expose the university to potentially crippling legal fees and potentially make it vulnerable in civil rights cases, not to mention a lawsuit by its own alumni.
The legal action is being sought by four California donors, all California-area residents, who sued the university and its members last year after the U.C.L.A. Board of Trustees unanimously approved the hiring of an assistant men’s basketball coach, John Kuester, who had been disciplined by the school in 2006 for his role in the death of a former Golden State Warrior player.
John Kuester, a friend of UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford, is accused of committing perjury and making false statements in the investigation that led to the resignation of the team doctor who was implicated in the player’s death.
The donor plaintiffs, who are seeking unspecified damages, say Kuester lied under oath when he was deposed in the university’s civil case against him — an investigation into the 2006 case that resulted in the school firing him less than two weeks after the death.
For purposes of the case, the university has chosen to describe the men’s coach as the “intervenor” rather than the school. The school also has said it could not be liable for damages because the two cases are unrelated.
In defending its actions, the university claims that Kuester was the subject of a “pattern of lies” that went far beyond the scope of the university’s investigation, which was focused on the doctor’s conduct; Kuester was never accused of any wrongdoing.
University attorney Steve Hirsch says the college claims Kuester, who did not respond to multiple messages for this story, was brought into the case by the donors in an effort