In response to the second lawsuit former Kent State softball player Lauren Kesterson filed against the university earlier this month, the Ohio Supreme Court has ordered the case to mediation.
Instead of appearing in court to argue the case, the Supreme Court’s mediation attorney will meet informally with the defendant—in this case the university—to work out a solution.
The Aug. 5 decision was made after Kesterson’s attorney, Subodh Chandra, of the Cleveland-based Chandra Law Firm, filed a second public records request on Aug. 1, when the university failed to produce the documents in a timely manner.
Kesterson filed a civil lawsuit against Kent State in the U.S. District Court in February, charging that her Title IX rights under the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any federally funded education program or activity, were violated.
In the lawsuit, Kesterson alleges she was raped by a former student, Tucker Linder, the son of former Kent State softball coach Karen Linder, in December 2012.
As of the filing of the second lawsuit, the case is still pending.
The documents sought after include the university’s handling of Kesterson’s rape report, as well as what the lawsuit said were efforts by an employee of the school to suppress that report.
Kesterson’s attorneys previously filed a public records request in February, asking for documents that included the personnel files of specific university employees, student athlete reviews of Linder within the last five years, and a record regarding Title IX training for the university’s softball team.
In April, Chandra filed a writ of mandamus action, asking the court to order the university to turn over the requested documents.
The university responded to the April request in June by turning over what the Aug. 1 lawsuit stated as “merely partial and incomplete” documents.
The university stated in response that the records requests sought after “lack specificity, lack merit,” according to the lawsuit.
Chandra said the state Supreme Court’s in-house mediation program will now handle the records dispute, Cleveland.com reported.
In response to the Aug. 1 lawsuit, Eric Mansfield, Kent State’s executive director of university media relations, stated that Kent State “will respond accordingly.”
Contact Alex Delaney-Gesing at firstname.lastname@example.org.