Ex-Montana Soccer Coach Files Defamation Lawsuit

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Ex-University of Montana women’s soccer coach Mark Plakorus has filed suit against his former employer, alleging defamation and breach of contract.

According to the Missoulian, the suit filed last week in Missoula County District Court,  alleges that the school violated the coach’s right to privacy and violated its side of the contract between the parties by releasing employment information to media outlets after he was fired. Additionally, the suit claims the school defamed Plakorus by releasing complaints of sexual misconduct, though those complaints were later found to be without merit.

Plakorus was dismissed last year after it was revealed that he had used a school-issued cell phone to text escort services in Las Vegas.

“In its communications, UM wrongfully implied Plakorus committed acts of sexual misconduct, endangered his players’ safety, and inappropriately used UM resources,” the suit reads.

Plakorus claims that despite having been at the school since 2011, he only had one a performance evaluation. The evaluation was largely positive, and according to the suit, lauded the coach’s efforts to improve the team academically and athletically.

Despite this, in January of 2018, Plakorus was informed that the school would not be renewing his contract, which was set to expire five months later. The school had fielded complaints by “one or more” soccer players, which alleged he had texted players too often or too late at night. A so-called climate survey conducted by the university Title IX office found those claims to be lacking merit — but it nevertheless led to an audit of Plakorus’ phone, ultimately resulting in the revelation of the escort service text messages.

Plakorus’ suit alleges that his employment prospects were harmed by the University’s handling of his dismissal. He is asking a jury to set an amount for damages.

A spokesperson declined to comment, pending litigation.

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