Attorneys Win; Judge Dismisses Federal Lawsuit Filed by Former Baylor Athletic Department Employee

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On Wednesday, a U.S. District judge in Texas dismissed a federal lawsuit filed by a former employee of Baylor University’s athletic department.

Tom Hill, a former associate athletic director for community relations and special projects at Baylor, filed a suit claiming Philadelphia law firm Pepper Hamilton caused his improper firing due to negligence, defamation, wrongful intentional conduct, and conspiracy.  Pepper Hamilton is the firm investigating the university’s handling of sexual assault allegations.

Hill sued Pepper Hamilton and Attorneys Leslie M. Gomez and Gina Maisto Smith on Jan. 23, claiming their 8-month investigation lead to his termination after working for the university for 28 years. Hill also accused former Baylor board of regents chairman Neal “Buddy” Jones of influencing the current board’s decision to fire him.

Hill was fired in 2016 alongside former football coach Art Briles and former football operations director Colin Shillinglaw after an investigation was launched into the university’s response to students who reported sexual assaults and domestic violence. Hill was seeking $2 million in damages.

Shillinglaw filed a lawsuit of his own in January, accusing Baylor, Pepper Hamilton, and four regents and Pepper Hamilton of defamation. However, he decided to drop his lawsuit and to persue his claims through arbitration.

The investigation into Baylor’s handling of reports of sexual assault and domestic violence is currently ongoing. In March, the university filed a motion to dismiss the Title IX lawsuit against the school and the football team. The lawsuit claims 52 acts of rape by 31 football players over a span of 3 years.

Just last month a new sexual assault lawsuit was brought against the university. A former Baylor University volleyball player alleged she was “brutally gang raped” in 2012 by at least four and as many as eight Baylor football players, according to the lawsuit.

She also claimed the football team used rape culture as a “bonding” experience and said many players would exchange pictures and videos of semi-conscious girls. Baylor’s athletic program has faced some fairly egregious accusations over the last few years, to say the least.

Many people believe the athletic program deserves the death penalty. However, that would cause many people to suffer that had nothing to do with the university’s handling of sexual assault and domestic violence.

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