Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Suit tossed against Geno Auriemma
HARTFORD, Conn. -- A New York City judge has dismissed an NBA security official's discrimination and assault lawsuit against University of Connecticut women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma, the NBA and USA Basketball, saying the alleged wrongdoing didn't happen in New York.
Kelley Hardwick sued in state court in Manhattan in June, alleging she was removed from the security detail of the USA women's basketball team at the London Olympics last year because she spurned sexual advances from Auriemma during a 2009 national team trip to Russia. Auriemma, who coached the Olympic team to the gold medal, denied the allegations.
Hardwick, the NBA's director of security and a former New York police detective, said league officials removed her from the detail after Auriemma, in retaliation for her rejecting his advances, told a USA Basketball official that he didn't want Hardwick to provide security for the team. The national team official then told Hardwick's supervisor at the NBA and she was reassigned, her lawsuit said.
After filing the lawsuit, Hardwick said she was reinstated to the national team's security detail but with significantly reduced responsibilities. After being reinstated, she said Auriemma screamed at her in front of the team, prompting the civil assault charge, court documents say.
Auriemma, who led UConn to its eighth NCAA championship last week, denied those allegations as well. His lawyer, Kenneth Novikoff, said Auriemma was confident he would prevail in the lawsuit.
"Mr. Auriemma categorically denied all the allegations against him," Novikoff said Wednesday.
Hardwick's lawsuit claimed violations of New York state and New York City human rights laws and assault.
Supreme Court Justice Cynthia S. Kern dismissed the case April 11 without addressing the merit of the allegations, saying New York courts lacked jurisdiction.
Kern said the discrimination and assault allegations all took place outside the state of New York.
Manhattan attorney Randolph McLaughlin, who represents Hardwick, appealed Kern's ruling Tuesday to the New York Supreme Court's Appellate Division.
McLaughlin said Wednesday that New York law applies to Hardwick's case because she works at the NBA's headquarters in Manhattan, and he alleged Auriemma tried to destroy her New York-based career.
"We think Mr. Auriemma will have to explain his conduct as alleged in the complaint," McLaughlin said. "He'll have to stand in front of a judge. Before that, he'll have to stand before a deposition."
Auriemma's attorney said he was confident the appeal would be rejected.