Judge says no to mediation in Penn State lawsuit
HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) A judge overseeing a lawsuit over the $60 million fine imposed on Penn State by the NCAA as part of a consent decree after the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal said Wednesday the case will not go through a court-run mediation program.
Commonwealth Court Judge Anne Covey denied a request by the state treasurer and the senator who brought the lawsuit, saying they are free to keep negotiating with Penn State and the NCAA on their own.
''The court is wary of taking unwarranted action which may result in a lengthy delay of the trial'' now set for January, she wrote. ''Importantly, the parties have been and are continually free to mediate this case without the court's intervention or the commencement of a second process.''
The parties previously worked with Covey to try to reach a deal, she said.
''A request to commence an entirely new and separate process, with no scintilla of evidence to support the application when there exist other clear avenues available to the parties to reach the desirous result of an amicable resolution, will not be granted,'' Covey wrote.
Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman, R-Centre, said he did not consider Covey's ruling to be a major development.
''It's not a big deal,'' Corman said. ''We were just trying to be as cooperative as possible.''
His lawyer's Nov. 25 letter to Covey that sought mediation said they have ''seen significant movement on (their) differences and that this matter is now within reach of a mediated resolution.''
The lawsuit by Corman and Treasurer Rob McCord began as a way to enforce a state law requiring the fine to remain within Pennsylvania. It has since been widened to address the legality of the consent decree.
Sandusky, Penn State's former longtime defensive coach under Joe Paterno, was convicted in 2012 of 45 counts of child sexual abuse and is serving a lengthy prison sentence.
The consent decree called for a temporary reduction in football scholarships, the loss of 112 wins from Paterno's later years and a four-year bowl ban, among other things. The NCAA recently said Penn State can return to its full complement of scholarships next season and overturned the bowl ban. Penn State is scheduled to play Boston College in the Pinstripe Bowl in New York on Dec. 26.