What follows is an amalgamation of opinion about what both sides of this case may likely be thinking and what’s likely to happen sooner or later.
The most important thing to remember is: Listen, anyone can sue anyone for anything. That is not the issue. The issue is, can they win?
What Might The Next Step Be?
The case could be settled before trial, which could be as far as two or three years away. But the consensus is that Kelley Hardwick’s counsel may not be interested in that because it did not initially pick-up the phone, write a letter or perform most of the protocol expected in cases like this before filing a lawsuit; which is asking if you are interested in settling this case.
It is not the responsibility of counsel to ask for settlement, but it is common practice. More lawyers do not file a lawsuit without trying to resolve things first. Why? Lawsuits are expensive, they take time, they are not a lot of fun to deal with it. Unless there is some other agenda, it typically makes sense to try to resolve first and there is no evidence that even took place.
This causes some lawyers to look at this case in a skeptical way, wondering what the true motivation is. Nevertheless, the next step could be discussion of settlement because Geno, USA Basketball and the NBA are now in a very difficult position.
What do people want to know? Well, Kelley Hardwick wasn’t fired and apparently received another good assignment. So what is the adverse action? And what damages can she be seeking?
Can The Case Be Transferred Or Dismissed?
There is a strong possibility the defendants may ask that the case be removed to Federal court because the parties involved are from different states; Hardwick from New York, Geno from UConn Nation. Asking for the transfer by the defendant is particularly likely if the plaintiff is seeking more than $75,000 in reward. I would imagine that would be the case, because, really, why would there be a reason to file a suit?
The plaintiff could object, of course.
Or there could be a motion to dismiss made by the defendant based on no legal basis for jurisdiction
What Is Going On Right Now?
Most likely, the defendants are investigating the claims, sending out letters asking that no emails be destroyed. These letters are called “preservation letters.” Strategies are being developed. There is no real urgency to the case, despite the coming of the Olympic Games. An injunction is not being sought. It’s not likely any possible depositions will take place prior to or during the Olympics.
The defendants likely are hoping that the story just quiets down, that the news cycle fades. What they don’t want is for another shoe to drop; another woman, another allegation that might compromise Auriemma. One fact seems to be a consensus; most people who sexually harass generally operate in a pattern. If it’s not a pattern, it’s not considered harassment, it’s more of an isolated incident based on perceptions, real or imagined, friends drinking, people thinking they are friends. Those things can be often misinterpreted.
What If There Is No Personnel File On Hardwick?
Apparently, it’s not really needed to prove job incompetence. Most employers, despite the common idea that everything should be documented with memos, etc., don’t do it. Actually, most personnel files attorneys deal with in similar cases are woefully thin and the reviews generally say “satisfactory or above” because no one likes to say bad things about people to their face. If there is no documentation, it generally doesn’t mean much. Plus, some believe, because of her reputation within the league – her apparent complaining about a lack of promotion and salary increase – there may have been hesitation to antagonize her. The bigger question seems to be why wasn’t there a promotion since 2005. There must be a reason? There is something else going on…
What About “Hardwick vs. The NBA?
There is an opinion that if Hardwick was so taken aback by what has happened with her in her career, and allegedly with Auriemma that night in Russia, that she would have taken the step to speak with the NBA’s Senior VP of Human Resources on a personal level, instead of just talking to Neal Stern, the NBA’s Senior VP and General Counsel.
Perhaps, Auriemma’s name is being used to promote and sensationalize her case? She may have been angered by Geno’s demeanor and wisecracking. Join the club – Pat Summitt president.
There are many things that happen every day that people brush off. And what if Geno really did ask USA Basketball to re-assign her? How does that relate to him being sued?
Why wasn’t the lawsuit named “Hardwick vs. the NBA?”
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