Arkansan argues against dismissing lawsuit against UA officials

Updated: May 30, 2007, 2:12 AM ET
Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- A lawsuit against University of Arkansas officials over the handling of an e-mail criticizing former Arkansas quarterback Mitch Mustain raises legitimate issues and should go forward, a court filing says.

John David Terry of Mount Ida has standing as a voter and taxpayer to bring the Washington County Circuit Court complaint against university Chancellor John A. White and system President B. Alan Sugg, Terry's lawyer says in the filing Tuesday. The suit alleges that public money was wasted or misused and asks the judge to order a proper investigation.

The filing argued against a May 17 motion by lawyers for White and Sugg to dismiss the lawsuit. The university lawyers say that White and Sugg as government officials cannot be sued and that the complaint is moot because Mustain is no longer a student at the university.

Terry contends in his lawsuit that the university did not sufficiently investigate a harsh e-mail sent to Mustain by Razorbacks supporter Teresa Prewett. Prewett sent the e-mail to Mustain in December, with a copy to an e-mail address registered to Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt's family.

Nutt later gave Prewett, a family friend, an official reprimand and barred her from the sidelines during games. He has said he did not initially know about the e-mail, but some fans have speculated otherwise.

In Tuesday's filing, Terry's attorney, Eddie Christian Jr. of Fort Smith, said allowing Nutt to investigate the e-mail created a conflict of interest. Christian said White ignored information that Nutt and Prewett were close friends.

"White referred the (e-mail) to Nutt, which was the equivalent of having him investigate his friend, his family and himself," Christian said. "The conflicts of interest associated with this referral are so blatant that they do not even warrant discussion."

Circuit Judge Mark Lindsey is to hear arguments on motions in the case at a hearing Monday.

Prewett and Nutt are not defendants in the lawsuit.

Mustain started eight games at quarterback last year as a freshman. He is set to transfer from Arkansas to Southern California.

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Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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