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Web update: Subpoenas hit campus in McCormick case

15 students called to testify in student's lawsuit against U. and classmate

Fifteen students have been subpoenaed to testify in William McCormick III's lawsuit against the University, a female student and her father, according to J. Scott Kilpatrick, McCormick's attorney.

Kilpatrick said it was possible more subpoenas would be issued to students.

According to federal civil procedure, the University must make its employees available to testify because it is a party to the case, making subpoenas unnecessary for Brown employees.

McCormick, a former member of the class of 2010, brought suit last fall against the University following a 2006 accusation of rape made against him by the female student and his subsequent withdrawal from Brown.

McCormick maintains the accusation was made falsely and that, partly because the female student's father is an alum and major fundraiser for Brown, the University failed to properly investigate the claim and actively interfered with his ability to exonerate himself.

Marisa Quinn, vice president for public affairs and University relations, wrote in an April 12 e-mail to The Herald that University officials "acted appropriately in this matter."

Joseph Cavanagh, a lawyer for the female student, maintains that the rape accusation was true. The Herald is withholding the female student's name because she may have been the victim of a sex crime.

Judge William Smith of the U.S. District Court in Rhode Island expedited his ruling on motions to dismiss complaints so that students cold be subpoenaed before they graduate later this month and leave Rhode Island. Smith ruled on April 28 to dismiss several of the counts in the case without prejudice. According to Kilpatrick, a count dismissed without prejudice can be reintroduced if sufficient evidence surfaces during the pre-trial discovery period.

McCormick's claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress and libel against President Ruth Simmons, Senior Vice President for Corporation Affairs and Governance Russell Carey '91 MA'06, Vice President for Campus Life and Student Services Margaret Klawunn and several other University employees could be reintroduced because Smith dismissed them without prejudice.

Currently, McCormick's claims of distress, negligence and breach of contract against the University are still active. Smith has yet to rule on motions to dismiss claims against the female student and her father.




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