Jerry Sandusky Scandal

NCAA, Penn State respond to Paterno estate’s amended complaint

The NCAA and Penn State filed documents Monday in Centre County Court, reaffirming their opposition to the lawsuit brought by the estate of former football coach Joe Paterno.

The estate, along with Penn State trustee Al Clemens and former assistant coaches William Kenney and Jay Paterno, are suing the two organizations, NCAA President Mark Emmert and former executive committee chairman Edward Ray for breach of contract.

The NCAA is also accused of interference, defamation, conspiracy and disparagement. All allegations stem from actions taken by the university and the sports organization in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal.

The Paternos had submitted an amended complaint to the court in October. Monday’s documents were in response to those changes.

The changes themselves were one problem for the NCAA.

“Plaintiffs have not sought and did not receive the NCAA defendants’ consent to amend their complaint,” wrote NCAA attorney Thomas Scott, of Killian and Gephart LLP, of Harrisburg, who claimed the court had only granted a limited ability to make amendments to correct specific problems Judge John Leete, of Potter County, found with the suit. The estate’s amendments, he suggested, went outside those parameters and tried to re-argue areas that had already been addressed.

“Plaintiffs nonetheless have purported to amend their complaint to replead a breach of contract claim on behalf of the Paterno estate that this court has already dismissed,” Scott wrote.

The NCAA therefore restated the same arguments it used before — that they deny the coach had any rights that were breached in the matter, and even if he did, the estate can’t argue them after his January 2012 death.

In a separate filing from Jack Cobetto, of Reed Smith LLP in Pittsburgh, Penn State attorneys echoed the arguments.

“Penn State owed no contractual obligations or duties, express or implied to plaintiffs,” Cobetto wrote, asking that the estate’s claims be dismissed.

The NCAA also renewed objections to the inclusion of Emmert and Ray in the suit on grounds that, because they live in other states, a Pennsylvania county court lacks jurisdiction over them.