University handling seven lawsuits, most pending


WKU remains involved in seven lawsuits, and most cases aren’t expected to be completed anytime soon.

Lauren Ossello, the university’s executive legal assistant, said it’s not uncommon for cases to last this long. 

“Any time you have an appeal it takes that much longer and you have to request the appellate course to review the case,” she said. “Once they agree, they have to go through all the paperwork.”

Despite the lengthy process, Ossello said the university keeps tabs on each case equally. 

“There are pieces always at different levels,” she said. “We’re as involved in each one as the next. Some are awaiting decisions from the court.”

The university’s most recent case involves former student Jason Gati and access to disability accommodations with the university. Gati enrolled in the Masters of Arts in Education program, Mental Health counseling and applied for admission into the graduate program. A handful of Gati’s required courses couldn’t be offered online or via ITV, and Gati alleges that WKU refused to offer necessary classes onsite at the Elizabethtown campus. This case has been moved from Hardin Circuit Court into the U.S. District Court for the Western District. 

The longest standing case involving the university stems from October 2009. According to court documents, Elizabeth Esters, a former WKU employee, claimed that the university breached her contract. In 2013, Judge Wingate issued a decision that the university did breach her contract. WKU appealed the decision, but the Kentucky Court of Appeals sided with the previous ruling. 

Raymond Elms filed suit against WKU in 2010, alleging discrimination based on age following his termination. The Warren Circuit Court granted WKU’s motion for summary judgment in 2013 which Elms requested to be reviewed by the Kentucky Supreme Court. It will take another six to nine months before the Supreme Court decides to review the case.