University of Iowa seeks delay in trial over field hockey coach's firing
The former field hockey coach at Iowa reacts to her partner, Jane Meyer, winning a civil lawsuit against the UI.
UI's attorney worried he won't be able to present "an adequate defense" in the 10 days originally planned for the trial; judge's availability limited.
A second discrimination trial against the University of Iowa may not begin June 5 as originally scheduled.
District Court Judge Eliza Ovrom notified attorneys Monday that she has limited availability in her schedule for the week of June 19 if former Hawkeye field hockey coach Tracey Griesbaum's civil lawsuit lasts that long. Ovrom said the original start date was determined after lawyers told her two weeks would be enough.
Griesbaum's attorneys, Thomas Newkirk and Jill Zwagerman, responded Tuesday that they still believe two weeks is sufficient for the trial, but that if it does spill into a third week, they're agreeable to a brief delay before it resumes. The pair also represented Jane Meyer, whose civil lawsuit against Iowa recently concluded after 14 days in court with the jury awarding their client $1.43 million in damages.
The Associated Press reported that assistant attorney general George Carroll, representing the university, filed a motion Tuesday seeking to push back the trial.
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Carroll wrote that the university "will not be able to present an adequate defense" in the 10-day period originally envisioned.
It's expected that the judge will rule on the trial date this week.
Newkirk and Zwagerman asked that, if the trial date is moved, that it begin July 10 instead "to ensure that witnesses are able to attend." They pointed out that an autumn trial would cause hardship because many of the witnesses are coaches, administrators or students involved in college sports.
Griesbaum was fired by Iowa in August 2014 and is claiming gender and sexual orientation discrimination, as well as retaliation. Those are similar to the claims made by Meyer, who is Griesbaum's partner and was the Hawkeyes' senior associate athletic director from 2001-14.
At issue was whether longtime University of Iowa employee Jane Meyer lost her job because of a culture of discrimination or over concerns that she had become combative with her supervisor and no longer able to work effectively with colleagues.