A federal judge has decided to hear part of fired Ohio State marching band director Jonathan Waters’ case against the university, according to court documents.
U.S. District Court Judge James Graham ruled today that Waters has a legal basis to sue OSU for “reverse sexual discrimination,” but threw out other complaints.
The judge did throw out Waters’ complaint that OSU didn’t give him due process when he was fired. Graham disagreed with Waters’ argument that, though he was an at-will employee, he had an implied faculty status.
Waters has sued for a minimum of $1 million in compensatory damages, in addition to seeking punitive damages, attorney fees and reinstatement.
OSU tried to get the entire lawsuit dismissed.
Waters’ lawyer, David Axelrod, said he was “delighted” to be going to trial.
“We are anxious to start talking to witnesses to get to the truth,” he told The Lantern Friday evening.
Axelrod said he “respectfully disagrees” with the judge’s decision to throw out part of the lawsuit.
OSU spokesman Chris Davey provided a university statement about the decision to The Lantern on Friday.
“We appreciate the court’s careful consideration of the university’s motion and are grateful that at this early stage the court has dismissed all of Mr. Waters’ due process claims,” the statement read. “As a result of the court’s decision, all of Mr. Waters’ claims against President (Michael) Drake and Provost (Joseph) Steinmetz have been found to be without merit and are now gone.
“As for Mr. Waters’ sole remaining claim, that he was terminated because he is a man, we look forward to providing the factual support to enable early dismissal of that claim as well at the next opportunity presented by the proceedings.”
Waters was fired July 24 after a two-month long investigation by the university found that the marching band had a “sexualized culture.”
Editor’s note: This story was updated April 25 with OSU’s statement.