Jerry Sandusky Scandal

Paterno estate calls for judge to lift protective order in lawsuit

Friday may have seen the end of the lawsuit pitting state Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Benner Township, and Treasurer Rob McCord against the NCAA and Penn State, but another case took a new step that day.

The estate of late former Nittany Lion head football coach Joe Paterno renewed a push to have a protective order lifted in the suit against the NCAA, President Mark Emmert, former executive committee chairman Ed Ray and the university.

The order was put in place in September, but since then, the estate has argued that the NCAA has had freedom to release information in the Corman-McCord suit in Commonwealth Court, getting around the strictures on the Paterno case in Centre County.

“The court should lift the restrictions ... for the straightforward reason that the NCAA cannot reasonably insist on restrictions on the use of discovery materials on this case that they do not live by in Corman,” plaintiff’s attorney Patricia Maher wrote in the filing.

She argued that circumstances changed when discovery in the other case, involving “many of the same underlying events,” began to be made very public.

The defense in the case has argued that the order should remain in place to protect the jury pool from information that could taint objectivity, but has also said it released some documents in the Corman-McCord case to “provide context” and “correct the record.”

The estate wants that same freedom.

Maher’s document called the NCAA jury contamination argument “meritless,” saying disclosures made by the sports organization in the Corman-McCord litigation “are just as likely to influence potential jurors for this case as any comparable disclosures that could be made of nonconfidential materials by plaintiffs.”

The estate’s request would only affect those documents or information not designated confidential or highly confidential.

The stream of documents in the Corman-McCord suit has not stopped.

Copies of the deposition of Penn State board of trustees Chairman Keith Masser came to light over the weekend, showing his recollections of the contentious period from the first information about an investigation into Jerry Sandusky for child sex abuse through the NCAA’s epic sanctions.

Included was his perspective on Paterno and how he lost his job, which Masser insisted was not a firing but merely removal from his duties.

“The decision to remove Coach Paterno had nothing to do with what he had known, what he hadn’t done. It was based upon the distraction of having him on the sidelines would have caused the university and the harm to the current football team,” Masser said.

The university declined to comment on the deposition.