WKU lawsuits languish


Pending litigation involving WKU hasn’t advanced far in the judicial process since last semester, according to chief legal counsel Deborah Wilkins. 

Two cases currently sit in the pre-trial discovery phase. Here, the respective parties have begun to collect depositions so that the lawsuits might move closer to their resolutions.

Cheryl Lewis-Smith v. WKU is one such case. Former WKU employee Cheryl Lewis-Smith claimed her position was eliminated due to her race and age. The trial has been ongoing since Jan. 2012. 

The other case taking depositions is Marilyn Gardner v. WKU. Gardner alleges she was discriminated against based on disability. 

The most recent case involving the university, Terry Reagan v. WKU, remains pending as the discovery phase of the case proceeds. Reagan, a former employee, filed suit alleging he was fired due to age discrimination. His suit was filed in October last semester. 

A case involving a 2012 Miss Kentucky State Pageant contestant added more WKU employees to her suit against the pageant organization in Jan. 2013. However, there is still no trial date set, and the discovery phase of the suit is proceeding. 

The university’s oldest pending litigation currently awaits a decision from the Kentucky Court of Appeals. 

Ongoing since 2009, the case of Elizabeth Esters centers on a former university employee who claimed her employment contract was breached by WKU. Following the court’s decision in Jan. 2013, WKU appealed the decision to the Court of Appeals. 

Wilkins said if a decision isn’t passed down soon regarding the case, it could be another six months before it’s closed.