Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Yegidis Seeks New Trial

The Naples Daily News is reporting that former FGCU Provost Bonnie Yegidis is moving for a new trial. Last month, a jury concluded that her removal from the provost position was not retaliation for her role in challenging sex discrimination in the university's athletics program. But Yegidis is arguing that the judge's decisions in advance of trial to limit certain witnesses' testimony were improper and influenced the jury's verdict. In particular, the judge limited the testimony of key witnesses Merrily Dean Baker, the former athletics director, and Wendy Morris, the former general counsel, who like Yegidis both encouraged university president to meaningfully investigate coaches' claims of discrimination against women's sports and female coaches. The judge limited the testimony out of concern that the coaches' and Morris's lawsuits, which produced six and seven-figure settlements, could improperly bias the jury against FGCU. But Yegidis's motion for a new trial raises the argument that these restrictions went too far and resulted in an incomplete picture of Yegidis's perception of discrimination and her role in challenging it -- both crucial elements to a retaliation claim.