A lawsuit filed by former head football coach Regis Scafe against John Carroll University is set to go to trial in 10 days, but the University is still awaiting a ruling on a motion to have the case dismissed. Hundreds of pages of documents filed with the court in support of dismissing the case provide an inside look at the firing of the 14-year head coach.
University officials say the outcome of one football game in 2012 decided Scafe’s fate as head coach, court documents show. Scafe, who filed his lawsuit on Feb. 6, 2013, said he was fired based on age discrimination, according to court records.
In depositions filed in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court, both Mark McCarthy, vice president for student affairs (in questioning by Scafe’s lawyer David A. Young), and Scafe (in questioning by the University’s lawyer Steven J. Forbes) said that Scafe had been told he had to win seven games during the 2012 season.
McCarthy, Senior Athletic Director Laurie Massa and JCU’s President the Rev. Robert Niehoff, S.J. said in their depositions that if Scafe had won the final game of the season against the University of Mount Union, he would not have been fired.
The 2012 season ended with a 17-59 loss to Mount Union and an overall record of 6-4.
The University’s lawyer filed a motion to dismiss the case on Nov. 8, 2013, but Scafe’s lawyer opposed this motion.
The judge presiding over the case, Timothy McCormick, has not yet made his decision on this matter. The final pre-trial was set for Wednesday, Jan. 29 with the trial date set for Feb. 10 in Common Pleas Court.
Though the depositions were filed on Jan. 9, 2014, Scafe, Niehoff, McCarthy, Massa and head football coach Tom Arth were questioned by the opposing side’s lawyer on separate meetings from August through October of 2013.
McCarthy, Massa and Arth all said there had been general discussion about Arth’s future as head coach as far back as when he was first hired as an assistant, but that it was nothing more than vague discussion about Arth’s ultimate goal with the JCU football program, court records show.
The depositions also revealed that according to Niehoff and McCarthy, former football and wrestling coach Tony DeCarlo said he heard rumors that Arth said was considering leaving his assistant coach post at the University if he was not promoted, which Arth denied in his deposition.
The University’s lawyer filed a motion to dismiss the case on Nov. 8, 2013, but Scafe opposed this motion. The judge presiding over the case has not made his decision on this matter. The final pre-trial was set for Wednesday, Jan. 29 with the trial date set for Feb. 10 in the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
Feb. 6, 2013: Scafe files lawsuit against John Carroll University
March 18, 2013: JCU answers complaint with a jury demand.
May 14, 2013: Case management conference is held.
August 28, 2013: A deposition, a session in which a potential witness is questioned under oath by lawyers, of Scafe is taken.
September 4, 2013: A deposition of Vice President for Student Affairs Mark McCarthy is taken.
September 11, 2013: Depositions of Senior Athletic Director Laurie Massa and Head Football Coach Tom Arth are taken.
October 14, 2013: A deposition of JCU President Rev. Robert Niehoff, S.J. is taken.
November 8, 2013: JCU files a motion for summary judgment motion to dismiss the case
Jan. 8, 2014: Scafe files opposition to JCU’s motion for summary judgment.
Jan. 9, 2014: Depositions of McCarthy, Niehoff, Massa, Arth and Scafe are filed.
Jan. 21, 2014: JCU files a brief to support its motion for summary judgment
Jan. 24, 2014: Scafe files final pretrial statement
Jan. 29, 2014: Final pre-trial is scheduled to occur.
Feb. 20, 2014: Jury trial is scheduled to occur.