Thursday, February 21, 2008

Cooper Lawsuit Takes Dead Aim at Brodhead

"The only wall of silence erected in this tragedy was Brodhead's."

Charles Cooper, lawyer for the 38 lacrosse players now collectively suing Duke University, held a press conference today to announce the filing of their lawsuit against both Duke and Durham. They have created a website,, to keep individuals informed about the status of the suit.

We will begin another series breaking down this 225 page lawsuit shortly, in addition to finishing up the Lawsuit Breakdown series on the Ekstrand Lawsuit.

There seem to already be clear differences between the two lawsuits. Ekstrand seems to have adopted a somewhat more aggressive strategy early on while Cooper seems to be approaching the suit a more cautiously. It will be interesting to see how these potentially complementary approaches play out. It is interesting that most of the significant facts alleged in each lawsuit are the same, corroborating each suit.

Also noteworthy is that Ekstrand's lawsuit carries an interesting focus on Chairman of the Board of Trustees Bob Steel and seems to place him as the lead decision maker. In contrast, Cooper's lawsuit places the blame primarily on the shoulders of President Richard Brodhead. Both suits, however, place heaping blame upon the duo for the suppression of evidence and other efforts to interfere with the team's pursuit of justice, so there is plenty to go around.

However, at this time, Bob Steel's name is noticeably absent from the list of defendants in the Cooper lawsuit.

The most significant difference between the Ekstrand and Cooper lawsuits consists not of factual assertions but of the allegations. Ekstrand repeatedly levels accusations of an active "conspiracy" involving Duke officials whereas Cooper's lawsuit is much more cautious in using that word. Perhaps time will show how these lawsuits evolve as they are modified and amended in the coming months.


Jim in San Diego said...

The Cooper lawsuit is now on the new website, "The Duke Lawsuit", at

Every Duke student, and Duke parent, should read the allegations of this lawsuit, and consider what they mean for the personal safety and security of current Duke students.

As they read, students and parents should keep constantly in mind that virtually every administrator, and every faculty member, identified as failing their duties to Duke students and to justice remain in their positions of responsibility at Duke. There has as of yet been no accountability.

If you read this lawsuit, and still believe you are prepared to "move on", then you have at least made an informed decision.

Jim Peterson

Anonymous said...

DSED - you will see the SWAS hypocrisy is mentioned in the suit. Kudos to you for calling out this hypocrisy from the get go.

Jim in San Diego said...

Steve Henkelman, father of former Duke lacrosse player Erik Henkelman, has posted a letter at "" explaining why he is not prepared to "move on".

All Duke parents should read it.

Jim Peterson

Carolyn said...

Personally, I can not wait until Tara Levicy submits for deposition. I swear, I will pay good money to get my hands on that transcript!