Ex-Michigan State Staffer's Suit Dismissed

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Former Michigan State football staff member Curtis Blackwell saw his federal lawsuit against former MSU officials dismissed by a U.S. District Judge on Wednesday.

According to MLive.com, Blackwell had filed a federal lawsuit against former head football coach Mark Dantonio, former university president Lou Anna Simon and former athletic director Mark Hollis alleging that they had violated his right to due process by not renewing his contract after Blackwell refused to speak to police in connection to an investigation into how sexual assault allegations against football players were handled. That investigation eventually generated a report, which cleared all university officials — except Blackwell himself — of wrongdoing. Blackwell filed his lawsuit in November of 2018.

Blackwell, formerly the football program’s recruiting director, was hired by Dantonio in 2013. He was suspended with pay in 2017 amid an investigation into an alleged sexual assault involving three football players. Blackwell was arrested by university police for what they determined to be interfering with the investigation, but he was never charged. Dantonio ultimately fired Blackwell months later, calling the move a “philosophical change.”

Blackwell’s attorneys were reportedly admonished in March by a magistrate judge for their use of public filings to generate media attention for the case. 

That lawsuit was dismissed Wednesday by judge Janet Neff, who also ordered the removal of Blackwell’s attorneys, one of whom was referred to the court’s chief judge for possible further disciplinary action. The attorneys were also ordered to pay monetary sanctions. 

“It’s justice done,” Thomas Kienbaum, an attorney representing Dantonio, Simon and Hollis told MLive.com. “What these people did to these defendants is just not what our system contemplates.”

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