One-Day Delay Should Result In Lawsuit Victory, OU Prof Claims

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A former Ohio University faculty member who is suing OU is asking a federal court to decide the case is his favor because the university was one day late in filing a response to the lawsuit.

Attorneys for OU called the request “frivolous.”

Timothy Scott McKeny is asserting he was improperly denied tenure, in part because of his sexual orientation and religious beliefs, which the university has denied. In addition to the university, OU President Roderick McDavis, Provost Pam Benoit and College of Education Dean Renee Middleton are named as defendants.

On Monday, attorneys for McKeny filed a motion asking that the university’s response to the lawsuit be stricken from the record because it was filed one day late. They also ask the court to grant McKeny a default judgment because of OU’s failure to defend the lawsuit in a timely manner.

The response to the lawsuit was due Feb. 17, but was filed Feb. 18.

In a document filed Tuesday, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, which represents OU, acknowledged the error and said the response deadline was “incorrectly calendared.” However, they argue it is not grounds for granting McKeny a default judgment.

“Plaintiff’s counsel … has filed a frivolous motion for default judgment and motion to strike defendant’s answer. Those motions should be denied,” argue lawyers with the attorney general’s office. They assert that McKeny was not prejudiced by the one-day delay, that the university has meritorious defenses to the lawsuit and that what occurred was “a simple error of miscounting the due date.”

McKeny, who was an assistant professor in the College of Education, also has a case pending against OU in the Ohio Court of Claims.

The lawsuits ask the courts to order that McKeny be granted tenure, and they seek in excess of $300,000 in damages. They also ask for an injunction “barring … future discrimination.”