May 20, 2016UT Ordered To Pay Lawyer Fees
Last week, a ruling in a lawsuit against the University of Tennessee declared that the school would have to pay the lawyer fees of the plaintiffs, three former athletic department employees. The legal fees awarded total just more than $462,000, increasing the school’s settlement payment to over $1.2 million.
As reported by the Knoxville News Sentinel, former Athletic Trainer Jenny Moshak and former Strength Coaches Colin Schlosser and Heather Mason filed the lawsuit in 2012, alleging that UT paid employees working for women’s athletics less than those working for men’s athletics. After the three of them filed complaints to the school and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, UT fired Schlosser as part of what the school described as a reorganization. After the lawsuit was filed, Mason was fired and Moshak said she was forced out.
Earlier this year, UT agreed to pay $750,000 to the three plaintiffs, but attempted to cap the legal fee at $300,000, arguing that the employees billed too many hours and asked for too much money. U.S. Magistrate Judge Bruce Guyton, who signed the ruling, rejected most of UT’s arguments, although he reduced the final fees by a few thousand dollars.
“In making this finding, the court has considered the good results achieved by the plaintiffs, the fact that there were three plaintiffs involved in this case, the number of years spent litigating this action and the factual complexity, including the reorganization of (UT’s) athletic departments,” Guyton wrote in his ruling.