Former lacrosse coach sues Duke for slander and libel

January 25, 2008 7:56:37 AM PST
Former Duke University lacrosse coach Mike Pressler has sued his former employer and the school's top spokesman for slander and libel.

Pressler lost his job several weeks after the 2006 party at which a stripper claimed three players raped her. The case was later debunked, and the prosecutor who pursued the charges was disbarred.

The lawsuit filed Wednesday said John Burness, Duke's senior vice president of public affairs and government relations, made slanderous and defamatory comments about him to the media.

Last week, the attorneys representing Pressler withdrew their request for a judge to rescind a settlement agreement between Pressler and Duke so they could pursue this lawsuit. At that time, lawyers representing Duke said they would fight the allegations.

They also argued that any case by Pressler against his former employer should go through arbitration first.

Duke University Vice President and General Counsel Pamela Bernard issued a statement Wednesday in response to a lawsuit filed by former Duke men's lacrosse coach Mike Pressler.

"As we have said before, Mr. Pressler reached a fair and final financial settlement with Duke University in 2007. There is no merit to this lawsuit and it is yet another attempt to reopen a settled matter," Bernard said.

Pressler now coaches the men's lacrosse team at Bryant University in Rhode Island. He also has written a book about the lacrosse case.


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