Lawsuit against UI continues

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — A court refused to dismiss a multi million dollar lawsuit against the university.

Attorneys for Joseph Petry filed the lawsuit in June 2020 with the Illinois Court of Claims alleging a breach of contract by UI officials. Petry is asking for $7.9 million.

Among other things, the complaint says that the UI board of trustees violated a resignation agreement Petry signed in April 2019 by not discontinuing an ongoing investigation into alleged misconduct between Petry and one of his students. Petry’s attorneys said the university continued to investigate after the agreement had been signed. They said the investigation lasted almost a year, and found that the accusations against Petry weren’t credible.

UI Board of Trustees filed in August 2020 to have the case dismissed, arguing the university’s decision to continue to investigate the accusations against Petry did not cause him further damage. According to the filing, the board argued Petry’s damages were because of actions he did himself or from third-parties, not the university.

“The Court of Claims’ ruling suggests that it saw the University’s motion for what it was, a half-baked argument concocted to delay the inevitable — a finding that the University must pay for the damage it deliberately caused,” said Petry’s attorney, John Thies.

WCIA has reached out to UI for comment, but has not heard back.

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