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Knoxville News-Sentinel (Tennessee)


The University of Tennessee filed another protective order Friday in district court, seeking to prohibit "extrajudicial use or disclosure" of documents and information developed in discovery pertaining to Debby Jennings' lawsuit against the university and athletic director Dave Hart.

The original motion filed June 20 sought to forbid discovery of information related to former Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt's illness and circumstances surrounding her decision to retire as coach. The filing included statements from Hart, chancellor Jimmy Cheek and Summitt's son, Tyler.

The latest motion contends "there is a reasonable likelihood that extrajudicial release of select Discovery Information to media representatives will further interfere with a fair trial of this civil action."

The university said it's not asking for documents or deposition transcripts to be sealed or barred from disclosure via a Public Records Act request.

"The University requests only that this case be tried in Court on its merits, not through information leaks to the media that affect the jury pool and are likely to prevent a fair trial," the motion states.

In her suit, Jennings alleged "unlawful discrimination and retaliation" after her abrupt departure from the UT athletic department, which she served for more than 35 years as the primary media contact for Lady Vols athletics.

The suit is scheduled to go to trial April 27, 2015.


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