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12/1/2004

Issues debated in Simpson vs. CU

By Jon Sarche
The Associated Press

DENVER — Attorneys for a woman suing the University of Colorado after her alleged rape by football athletes are trying to sneak additional issues into the high-profile case, attorneys for the school told a federal magistrate Tuesday.

Larry Pozner, who represents CU in the lawsuit filed by Lisa Simpson, said during a pretrial hearing that her attorneys were trying to introduce additional claims by referring to them in descriptions of what potential witnesses may testify about.

Earlier this fall, Simpson’s attorneys decided not to file claims accusing CU of retaliating against Simpson and releasing sensitive information about her. Pozner was referring to those claims.

Simpson’s attorney, Baine Kerr, said subjects on the witness list were covered in the lawsuit and could be brought up at trial.

Pozner said the judge either should allow the defense more time to gather evidence to counter new claims or prohibit Simpson’s attorneys from introducing the material.

“What is happening here is the plaintiff’s case keeps morphing,” Pozner said. “This is a Title IX case but it doesn’t play like a Title IX case. It plays like all the junk you can throw against a wall.”

Federal Title IX law guarantees equal access to education. Simpson, who has agreed to have her name used in media reports, accused the university of violating her rights by fostering an environment hostile to women.

Her lawsuit and similar lawsuits by two other women claiming they were raped by CU football players or recruits who attended a Dec. 7, 2001, off-campus party sparked a recruiting scandal and several investigations. No criminal sexual assault charges have been filed.

U.S. Magistrate Craig Shaffer said a May 31 trial date is firm and ordered both sides to more fully describe what potential witnesses will testify about.

“You can ask for more discovery but the trial date will not change,” he said. “You are going to have to carefully pick the battles you’re going to fight.”

He moved a Feb. 10 pretrial conference to Jan. 11 to give the sides more time to resolve any disputes stemming from witness lists.

 

 
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