Penn State continues to claim that documents involving law firm Pepper Hamilton are protected by attorney-client privilege and should not be subject to a subpoena from the estate of late longtime football coach Joe Paterno.
The Paternos, former trustee Al Clemens and former assistant coaches Bill Kenney and Jay Paterno are suing the NCAA, President Mark Emmert, former executive committee chairman Ed Ray and Penn State for breach of contract. The NCAA also is being sued for defamation, conspiracy, disparagement and contractual interference.
For a year, the Paternos have been attempting to subpoena documents from Pepper Hamilton, the firm of Louis Freeh, the former FBI director and federal judge Penn State hired to conduct an independent investigation of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. The Freeh report claimed Paterno, then-president Graham Spanier, former athletic director Tim Curley and former vice president Gary Schultz “failed to protect against a child sexual predator.”
Meanwhile, Penn State and Pepper Hamilton repeatedly have asserted that the documents are protected by privilege. Penn State re-stated that in documents filed Monday.
“Penn State renews and preserves its objections to any order that would compel its current or former attorneys, including Pepper Hamilton, to produce documents that Penn State contends are protected from disclosure by the attorney-client privilege and/or the attorney work product doctrine,” attorney Daniel Booker wrote.
Pepper Hamilton’s appeal of specially presiding Potter County Senior Judge John Leete’s ruling on the privilege issue is pending in front of the state Superior Court.
Booker wrote that the university does not object to producing communication with third parties, including the NCAA and the Big Ten Conference, and is “working with plaintiff’s counsel to search the database” of 3.5 million documents maintained by the Freeh firm with “mutually agreeable search terms.”