Philadelphia partner Barry Gross was quoted in a Legal Intelligencer article titled, “Settlements to Surface After Freeh Report, Attorneys Predict.”
Louis Freeh, the former FBI director and judge hired to investigate the Sandusky scandal, placed the bulk of the blame on Penn State’s board of trustees and directly on four of the university's top leaders who he said "concealed" facts to avoid bad publicity. The board admitted July 12 it "failed" in its oversight obligations.
The question is what the report and response mean for civil litigation connected to the case.
Barry, a partner in the Commercial Litigation Practice Group and former Assistant U.S. attorney, noted that while many corporations never issue a public report about their internal investigations, Penn State didn’t really have that option.
He said it is arguable that the report lays an outline for the plaintiffs to sue Penn State on behalf of the victims, but that outline is probably out there anyhow.
“All of the evidence found in the report would have been discoverable in civil litigation anyway,” he said. “If there’s liability, it’s already there.”
Barry also noted that the report will be a good thing for the university in the long run, despite what it may suggest about potential liabilities against the school.
Speaking about the university, he said, “To their credit, the trustees realized that even if this exposed some really damning type of evidence, it’s more important to get to the bottom of this and put the controls in.”