WHEELING -- Former leaders of West Virginia University's business school advised U.S. District Judge Frederick Stamp that they received a misconduct report more than two years before they sued the school, but they told Stamp the timing doesn't matter.
In affidavits that former dean Stephen Sears and former associate dean Cyril Logar submitted on Aug. 10, they argued that a statute of limitations didn't begin to run when they received a report from an academic integrity subcommittee.
They claim it started running when a discovery subcommittee charged them with misconduct for awarding a master's degree to Heather Bresch, daughter of former governor and current U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.
Logar wrote that the screening subcommittee report didn't bring charges against him.
"Rather, it identifies me only as a potential respondent," he wrote.
Sears wrote, "This is not the operative document with respect to the claims in my complaint as the screening subcommittee's report stated that it was 'not certain at this point who the appropriate respondents are.'"
He wrote that the subcommittee identified nine potential respondents, and that the discovery subcommittee didn't bring charges against all of them.
Sears and Logar sued the Board of Governors and seven individuals last Dec. 3, seeking to recover for lost opportunities and damage to their reputations.
This Aug. 3, Sears, Logar and the university selected Joseph Selep to mediate the dispute.
They can skip mediation, if Stamp decides the statute of limitations ran out.
Logar's affidavit stated that the screening subcommittee left to the discovery subcommittee the decision to bring charges.
He wrote that when he received the discovery subcommittee report, he learned for the first time that the investigation involved former university counsel Alex Macia.
He wrote that Macia's recollection of events differed from his.
He wrote that he learned Macia might not have been protecting his interests.
He wrote, "No one ever indicated to me that I was anything besides a potential respondent until some time after Dec. 8, 2008, which is the date on which I received the discovery subcommittee draft report."
Sears also wrote that when he read the discovery subcommittee report, he learned of Macia's role for the first time.
He wrote that the discovery subcommittee didn't include Macia as a respondent.
University integrity officer Marjorie McDiarmid signed an affidavit stating that the discovery subcommittee interviewed Logar in August of 2008 and Sears that October.