A combative and public legal battle between former Michigan State football staffer Curtis Blackwell and former university leaders appears over.
Blackwell’s federal lawsuit against former Michigan State football coach Mark Dantonio, former president Lou Anna Simon and former athletic director Mark Hollis was dismissed by U.S. District Court judge Janet Neff on Wednesday. Neff approved recommendations made in a March 20 report by magistrate judge Sally Berens and denied objections made by Blackwell’s attorneys.
Neff ordered the dismissal of the lawsuit, removal of Blackwell’s attorneys, Thomas Warnicke and Andrew Paterson, and for monetary sanctions to be paid to by Warnicke and Paterson. Additionally, Paterson was referred to chief judge Robert Jonker whether he should be disciplined further.
“It’s justice done,” Thomas Kienbaum, an attorney for Dantonio, Simon and Hollis said. “What these people did to these defendants is just not what our system contemplates. These two judges recognized that and it’s an appropriate disposition.”
Warnicke did not immediately return a message seeking comment.
In her report and recommendations, Berens admonished Blackwell’s attorneys for using court filings to generate media attention. Those include allegations of NCAA violations by Dantonio and the recruitment of former football player Auston Robertson, who is now in prison for sexual assault.