These ASU Police Employees May Be on the Hook for the University's Legal Fees

These ASU Police Employees May Be on the Hook for the University's Legal Fees
Courtesy of ASU

Current and former Arizona State University Police employees could have to pay for the university's legal fees after a judge dismissed their federal lawsuit.

After several amendments to a complaint originally filed in state court back in early 2016, Senior U.S. District Judge Roslyn O. Silver found the claims to be "unclear" and not "plausible," according to a court order.

While former drafts of the complaint alleged the university had pressured some of the plaintiffs to falsify crime statistics and traffic stops while retaliating against employees who objected to doing so, the most recent draft of the complaint only alleged violations of free speech and disability and age discrimination. 

But Judge Silver found many of the allegations in the complaint, even after multiple amendments, "legally or factually baseless from an objective perspective.”

In one case, a former employee alleged disability discrimination, but the statute of limitations had expired. In another case, the plaintiff said he'd been constructively discharged on July 2, 2015, but that contradicted an email he'd sent on February 13, 2015, stating he intended to retire that July.

In a statement, the ASU said they thought the allegations were BS all along.

"From the beginning, ASU has found nothing credible in the concerns of these individuals. We appreciate the work of the court in getting to the bottom of these baseless claims," the statement read.

Silver originally dismissed the case in July 2016 because the claims were too vague. But she gave the ASU employees another chance to amend their claims, resulting in the latest draft of the complaint.

Silver said the claims weren't based on factual evidence, citing former court case Ashcroft v. Iqbal, and noting the claim didn't even have to be detailed but did require “more than an unadorned, the-defendant-unlawfully-harmed-me accusation.”

As such, Silver ruled that three of the five plaintiffs and their former lawyer, David Dow, could be paying the piper — in this case, ASU's legal fees.

The plaintiffs can't amend this claim, though one plaintiff facing possible legal fees, Matthew Parker, told The Arizona Republic they are still considering whether they'll appeal the judge's decision.

The judge sanctioned Dow for "knowingly or recklessly" raising what the court order called "a frivolous argument."

Dow did not respond to a request for comment from the Phoenix New Times.


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