A federal judge has ordered Notre Dame to pay former assistant football coach Joe Moore $75,577 in compensatory pay in his age discrimination suit against the university. The school also must pay Moore's lawyers' fees of $394,865.
U.S. District Judge Allen Sharp's decision, handed down late Thursday night, compensates Moore for two years of lost earnings after he was fired as offensive line coach in 1996.
The pay compensation is in addition to nearly $86,000 in damages awarded Moore on July 15 by a jury that found head football coach Bob Davie fired Moore because Davie thought he was too old to coach.
Moore's attorneys had requested about $500,000 in legal fees and were seeking more than $600,000 in compensatory pay and court costs but said they were still pleased with Sharp's decision.
"We think the court sent Notre Dame a clear message that supplemented the jury's message -- that Notre Dame is not above the law," said Moore's attorney, Richard Lieberman. "Joe is pleased."
The university now has been ordered to pay Moore a total of $556,313.98, including the $85,870.56 a jury awarded him. The figure is well short of the $1.3 million Moore's attorneys had sought in a settlement to avoid a trial.
"What the ruling demonstrates is that this is an issue that never should have gone to court," said Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Moore, who is not related to the former assistant coach.
He maintained the suit "Could have been and should have been settled" out of court had Joe Moore's attorneys been reasonable in their settlement claims.
Lieberman agreed the suit should have been settled but took issue with Notre Dame's claims that he was unwilling to compromise.
"In our view, Notre Dame made a terrible mistake here," Lieberman said. "They suffered a $600,000 hit for a case that could have been settled for a couple hundred thousand dollars."
Liebeman said that was approximately how much he offered to settle the dispute, a version Notre Dame disputed.
Dennis Moore said the school has the right to appeal, but university attorneys have not reviewed the ruling.
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