And just like that, more than four years of legal tug of war over giant piles of Penn State money have ended in Philadelphia.
Late Thursday, just minutes before the close of business, a short document was added to the docket of the case that pitted Pennsylvania’s largest university against its own insurance company.
“Kindly mark the above action settled, discontinued and ended with prejudice, all parties to bear their own costs. The court shall maintain jurisdiction to enforce the terms of the parties’ settlement agreement if necessary,” said the request from Paul Gagne and Steven Engelmyer, attorneys for the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association Insurance Co.
The two sides have been at odds since the first filings in the case in January 2012. Penn State said the insurance company needed to pick up the $93 million tab for the 32 settlements reached with those claiming child sexual abuse at the hands of Nittany Lions assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who retired in 1999 after decades working for legendary head coach Joe Paterno.
PMA, on the other hand, said the university would have to eat some of those costs, citing policies that were negated by prior knowledge of other allegations against Sandusky, who continued to bring at-risk kids onto the campus after his retirement through work with his charity, The Second Mile.
In May, documents in the case prompted outcry when allegations were unveiled that Paterno had known about abuse claims as early as the 1970s.
That pulled the case into other legal actions. A group of media outlets, including the Centre Daily Times, asked Judge Gary Glazer to unseal records, which he did in June. The two claimants from the 1970s became embroiled in the ongoing lawsuit between the Paterno estate and the NCAA.
“Penn State officials are pleased that the university and the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association Insurance Co. have agreed to settle their lawsuit related to liability coverage in the Sandusky victim claims. The terms of the agreement and the amount of payment are confidential by mutual consent,” said university spokeswoman Lisa Powers.
PMA declined to comment.
Sandusky was convicted of 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse in June 2012. He is pursuing a new trial through a Post-conviction Collateral Relief Act petition, alleging that some of the victims in the case were influenced by leaked grand jury testimony or had repressed or recovered memory therapy, which can be unreliable. He continues to serve a 30- to 60-year sentence at Greene state prison.
The 50th anniversary of Paterno’s first game as head coach was celebrated at Beaver Stadium last week.