Former running coach drops lawsuit against University of Minnesota Duluth
Warmington’s attorneys filed the revocation stipulation in state district court on October 15, ending a two-year legal battle that also saw a similar lawsuit launched by a federal judge.
“It has been an incredibly painful process for me – and for everyone involved – and it ended at the right time to heal and move forward,” Warmington said in a statement to the Duluth News Tribune. “I thank Judge (Eric) Hylden for believing in my case, and I thank my lawyer Beau McGraw for representing me.”
The decision came five months after a judge allowed several of Warmington’s claims to go through the pre-trial jury process that was slated for February.
“We know that Ms Warmington has decided to voluntarily dismiss her lawsuit in state court,” UMD spokeswoman Lynne Williams said. “The university continues to maintain our continued commitment to ensuring the well-being of our student-athletes and to supporting them in their academic and athletic endeavors.”
Judge Hylden ruled in May that the former coach could follow up on allegations of gender discrimination, retaliation and the creation of a hostile work environment. The judge dismissed further allegations of negligence and invasion of privacy, and Warmington then agreed to drop several other legal claims.
Warmington, who spent 10 seasons at the school, resigned in 2018 after a college investigation found she had displayed a pattern of sexual harassment – a process she said was unfair and undertook with the predetermined intention of firing her because of her. vocal support for equal treatment and funding for women’s athletics.
According to documents, Warmington, who was first put on leave in the spring of 2018, was given the choice of resigning or being fired in August after the Equal Opportunities and Affirmative Action Office of the university found that she had violated many policies.
Specifically, the EOAA “concluded that Ms. Warmington’s conduct was unwelcome because it was unsolicited, made many student-athletes uncomfortable and, taken together, created a sexualized environment.” unwelcome in which some student-athletes felt compelled to tolerate unwanted conduct of a nature in order to maintain a positive relationship with their coach. “
But Warmington, who filed concurrent lawsuits in state and federal courts in October 2019, argued the investigation was “clearly biased” and served as a pretext to eliminate him after Shannon Miller, another longtime female athletics coach, won a lawsuit against the university for sex discrimination. In December 2019, UMD struck a deal with Miller, agreeing to pay $ 4.5 million.
Warmington, 49, claimed she received insufficient budgets and had to spend her own money on team expenses; that she had faced discriminatory comments from a male dominated sports department; that it was held to double standards; and that his complaints about inequalities have not been addressed.
Lawyers claimed Warmington never had a chance to review or refute the allegations against her; that “disgruntled student-athletes were allowed to conspire”; and that university administrators leaked allegations out of context in an attempt to smear his name and avoid the same controversy that ensued in Miller’s case.
Warmington’s federal case was dismissed by Judge Eric Tostrud in April 2020, a decision upheld by the 8th U.S. Court of Appeals in May 2021.
A three-judge panel ruled that the “factual allegations show that the university has treated Warmington and its teams differently from other coaches and teams.” But the complaint, read as a whole, does not plausibly give rise to the inference of discrimination on the basis of sex. as the reason for his dismissal. “
The 12-page opinion, written by Circuit Judge Duane Benton, further concluded: “Warmington’s allegations, while possibly describing despicable or inappropriate behavior, do not reach the level of an environment of hostile work that could give rise to legal action. “
The UMD sports department has been mired in litigation since 2015.
A federal lawsuit filed by one of Warmington’s former student-athletes, Paige Du Bois, was dismissed in February 2020. Du Bois claimed she suffered retaliation because of her support for Warmington, but Judge Patrick Schiltz called the allegations “implausible”, saying she “never reported, complained or in any way objected to discrimination on the basis of sex. “
Similar claims filed by other plaintiffs Jen Banford and Annette Wiles were twice dismissed by Schiltz. Banford, the former softball coach and director of women’s hockey operations, is currently pursuing an appeal to the 8th Circuit. Wiles, the former women’s basketball coach, did not appeal the April ruling.