Former Dolphins line coach sues over bullying scandal report
MIAMI (AP) The former Miami Dolphins offensive line coach implicated in the team's 2013 bullying scandal has filed a lawsuit against Ted Wells, the NFL's lead investigator into the case.
Assistant coach Jim Turner was fired five days after Wells released a report on his investigation in early 2014. The suit was filed against Wells and his Delaware law firm, Paul Weiss.
According to the suit, the defendants' false and misleading statements have caused Turner ''significant psychological and emotional pain and suffering.'' He seeks damages in an amount to be determined at trial.
Wells also led an NFL-sanctioned investigation into last season's scandal known as ''Deflategate,'' finding that the New England Patriots supplied improperly inflated footballs for the AFC championship game against the Indianapolis Colts. As a result, Tom Brady was suspended four games and the Patriots were docked $1 million and two draft picks.
In the Dolphins case, Wells found that guard Richie Incognito and two teammates engaged in persistent harassment directed at tackle Jonathan Martin, another offensive lineman and an assistant trainer. Martin left the team at midseason in 2013, and Incognito was suspended for the final eight games.
Turner didn't attempt to stop the harassment and even took part in some of the taunting of offensive lineman Andrew McDonald, Wells' report said.
According to Turner's suit, the NFL did not want a real investigation and sought to placate a public outcry regarding the scandal. The suit says the league paid the defendants $3 million to $4 million to identify individuals who could take the blame and face discipline.
Key information was withheld or ignored, the suit says, and as a result, the defendants falsely accused Turner of helping to create the atmosphere that allowed bullying and harassment to happen.
According to the suit, the Wells report ''negligently failed to analyze the obviously close relationship between Martin and Incognito.''
The investigation also failed to weigh Martin's ''history of emotional issues and an acute sensitivity to perceived bullying,'' the suit says.
The suit was filed in U.S. District Court in Florida.
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