WKU remains engaged in seven lawsuits

Jessica Voorhees

The university is involved in seven lawsuits—the oldest of which has yet to be solved.  

The U.S. District Court granted WKU’s motion for summary judgment in the case of Cheryl Lewis-Smith, a former African American employee who filed a civil suit in 2012 alleging she was fired due to her race and age.

The court dismissed the case. The plaintiff has yet to file an appeal.

In a 2011 discrimination case, Marilyn Gardner said she was discriminated on the basis of disability and retaliation. 

Deborah Wilkins, general counsel, said she anticipates the ruling for summary judgment will take longer than expected as the Court assigned a new judge to the case in late December. 

WKU moved the most recently filed suit of Jason Gati from the Hardin District Court to the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky, Louisville Division.

Gati, a former student, filed a civil suit in 2014 alleging WKU violated the Civil Right’s Act. 

He alleged that WKU’s refusal to offer required courses in his hometown violated the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

WKU filed a motion on its oldest case in April 2014. Elizabeth Esters filed a suit in 2009 against WKU alleging the university breached an employment contract following voluntary retirement.

The Kentucky Supreme Court won’t take action on the motion until late this spring. 

The Kentucky Court of Appeals dismissed the case of Raymond Elms v. WKU on Nov. 26. 

Elms filed a suit in 2010 alleging discrimination based on age following his termination from the university.

He filed a motion requesting the Kentucky Supreme Court review the opinion, and it will take six to nine months before a decision to review is made, Wilkins said. 

Terry Reagan also filed suit against WKU alleging his employment was terminated based on age.

The matter remains pending before court and discovery is in process. 

Two WKU employees are named in the case of Whitney Beckner v. Miss Kentucky State Pageant Org., et.al.

WKU is defending on behalf of the employees. No trial date has been set.