Judge to hear University of Arkansas lawsuit Monday

Updated: June 2, 2007, 4:17 PM ET
Associated Press

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- A Washington County circuit judge is expected to hear arguments Monday in a lawsuit filed against University of Arkansas officials over the handling of an e-mail criticizing a former Arkansas quarterback.

John David Terry of Mount Ida filed the lawsuit in April against university Chancellor John A. White and system President B. Alan Sugg, alleging that public money was wasted or misused in having Arkansas football coach Houston Nutt investigate the e-mail to Mitch Mustain.

The suit says that as chancellor, White also was obligated to follow NCAA rules that protect student athletes from harassment.

Circuit Judge Mark Lindsay has a hearing scheduled for Monday afternoon.

In advance, university lawyer Scott Varady filed a motion Friday, renewing a request that the judge dismiss the suit. Varaday described the complaint as a fishing expedition for details about controversy in the football program.

He also said compliance with NCAA rules was irrelevant to the legal claims in the suit.

The e-mail to Mustain was sent in December by Teresa Prewett, a friend of Nutt. Prewett sent a copy to an e-mail address registered to Nutt's family.

After an investigation, Nutt gave Prewett 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.

Mustain started eight games at quarterback last year as a freshman. He asked for and was released from the team in January. He is set to transfer to Southern California.

The filing Friday said White acted properly and took action in accordance with a request by Mustain's mother, Beck Campbell. Even if White did nothing, inaction isn't an illegal activity, Varady said in the filing.

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

Christian also argues that Terry has standing as a voter and taxpayer to bring the lawsuit.

Prewett and Nutt are not defendants in the case.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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