Penn State

Paterno-Kenney lawsuit appeal dismissed by federal judge

Jay Paterno
Jay Paterno CDT file photo

A panel of federal judges has dismissed a Paterno appeal.

In an order filed Tuesday, three judges in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the opinion of Judge Lawrence Stengel in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District. The panel included former Pennsylvania first lady and federal senior Judge Marjorie Rendell.

Jay Paterno and Bill Kenney filed the suit against Penn State, claiming the university violated state and federal law in dismissing them in January 2012. The two were let go from their positions as assistant coaches of the Nittany Lions football team, famously led by Paterno’s father for decades. Joe Paterno died the same month, weeks after he was dismissed from his head coaching job in the fallout from the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

Jay Paterno and Kenney were among a long list of staff not kept on when Bill O’Brien took over the program.

Stengel said he was not convinced there were stigmatizing statements made by the university in the handling of the scandal that were clearly about the two coaches. He dismissed the case without prejudice, leaving the door open for the case to be refiled in Pennsylvania court.

Kenney is now the offensive line coach of the Western Michigan Broncos. He won Offensive Line Coach of the Year for the team’s 2016 undefeated season.

Jay Paterno has not returned to coaching. He has returned to Penn State, however. Last week, university alumni elected him as one of their designated representatives on the board of trustees.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce