Mediation fails in suit over firing

by Jim Martyka

Despite efforts on both sides in a mediation session Wednesday, attorneys were unable to reach a settlement in David McGough’s lawsuit against the University.
McGough, the former coordinator of student services for General College, is suing the University as well as General College Dean David Taylor, Associate Dean Marjorie Cowmeadow and University Office of Admissions Director Wayne Sigler. McGough claims he was fired for offering unpopular suggestions on how to improve the recruitment and success of minority students.
He is also claiming age and gender discrimination in his suit.
Taylor, however, claims McGough’s position was eliminated as a result of downsizing. McGough’s position became unnecessary after General College admissions were taken over by the University’s Office of Admissions, Taylor said.
Brian Sattler, McGough’s attorney, said he wants to settle the case out of court. He asked the University at the mediation hearing for $300,000 and the University gave a counter-offer.
Official numbers for the counter-offer were not available because both sides signed an agreement of confidentiality. However, Sattler said the amount was not enough for McGough.
Sattler said the case will now move into the discovery stage, where both sides will locate witnesses and then will ask those witnesses questions regarding the allegations in the presence of a court reporter. This process, known as a deposition, is completed out of court in an attempt to bring both sides to a settlement without going to trial.
McGough has already gone through the formal deposition process. Taylor, Cowmeadow and Sigler are scheduled to go through questioning soon.
Sattler said McGough was disappointed that the two sides couldn’t settle Wednesday. However, Sattler and his client said they were optimistic that the possibility still exists.
“I’m always hopeful that we’ll settle out of court,” Sattler said.