UMD files motion to overturn $4.21 million awarded in Miller case
On March 13 the University of Minnesota filed a motion to overturn the $4.21 million awarded to former UMD women’s hockey coach Shannon Miller.
This motion comes nearly a year after Miller was awarded $3.74 million when a jury found the former coach subject to sex discrimination when her contract was not renewed in 2014. Miller was also awarded an additional $461,278 on Feb. 13 of this year, increasing her winnings to $4.21 million.
“This does not surprise us as it appears to be the way the [University of Minnesota] operates, even when they are found to be 100 [percent] at fault,” Miller said. “Now maybe people will understand it is not us dragging this out for years and years, it’s obviously the University.”
Miller also stated that the judge was impeccable in his proceedings and said that “there were no errors” in the case.
“The 12 person jury listened to the evidence, along with the judge, and reached a unanimous conclusion,” Miller said “If [the University of Minnesota] and UMD want to continue to put the University and community through this, it’s on them.”
Miller is also asking UMD to pay her legal bills along with interest on the verdict. If this is granted, UMD could be looking at up to $3 million in additional expenses.
“In regard to the Shannon Miller lawsuit, the University of Minnesota filed a motion [March 16] asking the judge to set aside the jury verdict, grant a new trial, or at least reduce the awarded amount,” Timothy J. Pramas, University of Minnesota Senior Associate General Counsel said in a statement. “Based on the law and facts, we have presented a strong motion and we look forward to the Court’s consideration of it.”
U.S. District Judge Patrick Schiltz, who has been continuously presiding over this case, is expected to consider both motions in upcoming months.
“[UMD’s] decision to allow Coach Miller’s fixed term contract to expire was based on the best interests of the program and student-athletes,” Lynne Williams, UMD Director of Marketing and Public Relations said in a statement. “We stand by that decision and respectfully disagree with the jury’s verdict. UMD continues to provide a safe and welcoming campus embracing our values of inclusiveness and diversity. Our legal team has filed a solid motion and we await the judge’s decision.”
According to Williams, the university has different funding sources that are designated for certain purposes, and costs associated with lawsuits do not impact student tuition or campus allocation of state funding.
Miller served as UMD women’s hockey coach for 16 years.
For more of The Bark’s coverage on the Miller case, click here.