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Ohio State moves to have lawsuits dismissed

Richard Strauss in his Ohio State College of Medicine photograph. Ohio State has filed to have three lawsuits dismissed regarding its handling of the accusations against Strauss. Credit: Courtesy of Ohio State

Ohio State filed motions to dismiss in three different cases on Friday on statute of limitations grounds. The three cases were all regarding their handling of sexual misconduct allegations against former athletic trainer Richard Strauss.

“While the university is responding to the legal claims filed against it, as it must, Ohio State’s motions to dismiss are not directed towards plaintiffs’ claims of injury,” said Michael Carpenter of Carpenter Lipps & Leland LLP in a press release by Ohio State. “As stated in the motions to dismiss, ‘Ohio State is not ignoring or being dismissive of plaintiffs’ factual allegations.’”

The university argued in court that plaintiffs claimed remedies under Title IX law and that Title IX has a statue of limitation of two years and thus the lawsuits should be dismissed.

The lawsuits came this summer following the public revelation of the accusations against Strauss with the third coming in July. That lawsuit alleged that Ohio State had been alerted of Strauss’ actions at the time and had done nothing to stop it.

“We are aware of reports that individuals at the university did not respond appropriately during that era,” university spokesman Ben Johnson said in a statement at the time. “These allegations are troubling and are a critical focus of the current investigation.”

Ohio State originally received complaints about Strauss in March and retained the services of Perkins Coie LLP to independently investigate the matter.

In the latest update of the investigation at last week’s Board of Trustees meetings, Ohio State informed the public that over 335 interviews had been conducted including 145 former students who reported firsthand accounts of sexual misconduct from Strauss, and that the fact-gathering phase of the investigation could be over by the end of fall.

In addition to the lawsuits filed against Ohio State, the Department of Education opened an investigation into Ohio State’s handling of the matter in August.

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