Questions and Answers
Pertaining to the Joe Moore vs. University of Notre Dame Lawsuit
July 30, 1998
Q. What was the basis of the lawsuit?
A. Former Notre Dame assistant football coach Joe Moore onFeb. 27, 19997, filed a federal lawsuit charging the Universitywith age discrimination and retaliation, and head football coachBob Davie and Blue & Gold Illustrated with defamation. Theportions of the suit alleging retaliation by the University anddefamation by Davie and Blue & Gold Illustrated all eventuallywere dismissed, leaving only the age discrimination suit againstthe University. Moore originally sought $3 million incompensatory damages from the University and Davie, $1 million incompensatory damages from Blue & Gold Illustrated, and $5 millionin punitive damages from the defendants. By contrast, the juryin the trial awarded Moore less than $86,000, plus court costsand legal fees and front pay (if any) to be determined by thejudge.
Q. Why wasn’t the suit settles before it ever went tocourt?
A. Judge Allen Sharp ordered the parties to participate ina pre-trial settlement conference. Notre Dame knew the risksinherent in litigation, the distraction it can be to the partiesinvolved, and the possibility that testimony as part of the trialcould embarrass the University. For this reason, Notre Dame waswilling and ready to arrive at a reasonable settlement of thismatter and attempted to do so. However at the pre-trialsettlement conference, Joe Moore’s lawyers demanded a settlementof $1.3 million. Moore and his lawyers never indicated awillingness to budge from the sum.
Q. Would the damage to Notre Dame’s image from the trialhave warranted payment of the settlement the plaintiff demanded?
A. The disparity between what Joe Moore can receiveultimately and what he had demanded illustrates that his positionwas unreasonable throughout. There is good reason to believethat whatever the University might have been prepared to pay,there was no guarantee that the information revealed in the trialwould not have come out in another forum, in which case theUniversity would have seemed to be engaged in a cover-up.
Q. What effect, if any, will this trial have on Bob Davieand the football program?
A. Mike Rosenthal, one of the 1998 captains, put itsuccinctly in the July 16 edition of the South Bend Tribune:
“I don’t think this has ever affected this team. All along,we’ve done what we had to do.”
Coach Davie stated that this is a closed chapter. He is enthusedabout the 1998 team, about the chemistry on his staff, and aboutthe quality of the incoming freshmen. These are the solidfactors that will have a positive impact on the football program.