Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Another Unnecessary and Costly Settlement for Wayne Watson's Misbehavior

Colleagues and Friends:
I've been waiting for the end of our civil action to post this. As I intend this to be my final post on the CSU Faculty Voice, I will bid all of you adieu.
Recently, the long-running lawsuit against Wayne Watson and CSU filed in 2014 by Phil Beverly (and me) concluded with the university agreeing to pay $650,000 in damages and attorney's fees to settle the action. There's a story about the settlement in the Tribune, you can read it here: https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-chicago-state-university-faculty-blog-lawsuit-20190107-story.html
What the Tribune story fails to note is the large sum the university threw away on defending the egregious behavior of former president Wayne Watson and former General Counsel Patrick Cage. In mid-2016, the legal bills had already exceeded $400,000 for university attorneys Husch-Blackwell. My estimate is that the cost for that firm to represent the university in this loser of a fight will come in around $1 million, making the total cost at least $1.5 million for this case.
After twice threatening the blog with legal action, after lying about the blog's violation of non-existent university trademarks, after lying about a variety of other matters, after ham-handed attempts by the Watson cabal to inveigle various administrators to file false sexual harassment charges, the university's feeble defense predictably failed to stop the lawsuit. Thus, the university faced the prospect of a trial which would have featured a defense by two notable liars having to tell their ridiculous lies on the stand. Kudos to President Scott for finally putting an end to this farce.
None of this had to happen. Soon after we filed the suit, the Illinois Attorney General's Office floated a potential settlement which would have resulted in a modification of the two unconstitutional policies (Computer Usage and Cyberbullying) and the payment of $60,000 in damages and attorney's fees for our attorneys. Rather than accept this reasonable offer, Watson decided to fight, replacing the Attorney General with a private law firm, whose efforts resulted in this loss, the modification of the policies, and an estimated $1.5 million price tag. After all, it wasn't his money.
So the university must once again pay the price for Wayne Watson's incompetence, his vindictiveness, his mendacity. Hopefully, the settlement indicates that at least someone responsible for administering this school will actually put the university's interests first.