U files response to School of Nursing suit

The University of Minnesota denies most of former employee Erica Goetzman’s claims about the school dean.

Rebecca Harrington

The University of Minnesota Office of the General Counsel filed an answer Friday to the complaint by School of Nursing Dean Connie Delaney’s former assistant.

In the response, the University denies nearly everything that Erica Goetzman alleged in her complaint, including her disability claim.

In the complaint, Goetzman said she has Multiple Chemical Sensitivity, which is a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act but is contended as a disease in the medical community.

“Plaintiff’s claims are barred because she is not disabled, and the University did not regard her as disabled,” the University said in the answer.

The University also denies every expense-related allegation Goetzman made stating Delaney used University funds for personal reasons.

Goetzman’s complaint states that she had a series of meetings with University staff members about her treatment. The University does admit that Goetzman had the meetings, but it said what Goetzman discussed was different.

Her main claim was that the University discriminated against her based on her disability, but in the response, the University said its records show Goetzman told University staff she was discriminated against based on race.

Goetzman also alleged she was fired because of her disability, but the University said in the answer that a letter was sent to Goetzman explaining her position was eliminated to reduce costs.

The next step is setting a pretrial conference, likely in the middle of August.