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USA Gymnastics wants Nassar lawsuit thrown out

Dec 14, 2017

Larry Nassar in court in recent months with his attorneys, Shannon Smith and Matthew Newburg.
Credit Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

USA Gymnastics has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit filed against it by alleged sexual assault victims of former sports Dr. Larry Nassar.

The organization is named as a co-defendant in the suit which involves 141 plaintiffs. Ninety-three have asserted claims against USAG. 

The motion says the statute of limitations has run out on more than half of the claims against USAG, and that 12 are "at least partially untimely."

Additionally, the motion says none of the claims, timely or not, are sufficient.

It says USAG didn't have a legal duty to protect the plaintiffs from Nassar's crimes, and that an employer is only liable if  "the employer knew or should have known of the employee's criminal propensities."

While the plaintiffs allege that codefendants Michigan State University and Twistars Gymnastics Club had prior notice of Nassar's allegedly unlawful conduct, they do not allege that USAG had such notice until the summer of 2015, when USAG terminated Nassar and reported him to the FBI. As such, the plaintiffs who allege abuse before 2015 fail to state a claim against USAG.

The motion goes on to say that USAG had no legal duty to report concerns about Nassar to MSU or Twistars after it cut ties with him. It also says that most of the alleged assaults occured at MSU's Sports Clinic, Twistars, or Nassar's home -- "all locations where Nassar was clearly not acting as USAG's agent."

From the motion:

Nassar's conduct is disgusting, and USAG deplores Nassar's crimes. But Nassar, not USAG, is liable for Nassar's criminal actions. Most of the claims in these consolidated cases are time-barred, and all of plaintiff's claims against USAG fail as a matter of law. This Court should dismiss the claims against USAG.

The motion was filed in U.S. District Court in Grand Rapids.