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Judge allows former coach Pat Fitzgerald's lawsuit against Northwestern to continue

CHICAGO (AP) — A judge denied Northwestern's motion to dismiss former coach Pat Fitzgerald's $130 million lawsuit against the school claiming he was wrongly fired in the wake of a hazing scandal.

Cook County Circuit Judge Daniel Kubasiak ruled Tuesday that Fitzgerald made a strong enough argument to keep the case going. A trial is set for April 2025.

“As we set forth in announcing our complaint in October 2023, defendants’ actions have exacted terrible, immeasurable costs to coach Fitzgerald, his family, and his career,” attorneys Dan Webb and Matthew Carter said in a statement. “As a result of that conduct, we had no choice but to file our complaint for breach of oral contract, breach of his employment contract, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, false light, and tortious interference with a business expectancy.”

A star linebacker at Northwestern in the 1990s, Fitzgerald was initially suspended for two weeks and then fired last year after 17 years as coach of the Wildcats. The school said he had a responsibility to know that hazing was occurring and should have stopped it.

Fitzgerald denies wrongdoing.

“We remain confident that the university acted appropriately in terminating coach Fitzgerald and we will vigorously defend our position in court,” Northwestern spokesman Jon Yates said in a statement.

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