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Ex-Penn State GC Faces Possible Malpractice Claims by Former Administrator
The Legal Intelligencer
A former Penn State administrator facing criminal charges related to the Jerry Sandusky sex-abuse scandal has filed a praecipe for writ of summons against the university's former general counsel, Cynthia Baldwin, indicating he intends to sue her for legal malpractice.
Gary Schultz, represented by a team of Sprague & Sprague attorneys led by Richard A. Sprague, filed papers that were docketed Wednesday in the Centre County Court of Common Pleas. Schultz faces charges of perjury, endangering the welfare of children, failure to report child abuse and other criminal charges related to allegations he engaged in a conspiracy to conceal allegations against Sandusky, the school's former defensive coordinator and convicted serial child molester.
Beyond naming legal malpractice as a possible cause of action, the details of Schultz's allegations in civil court were not immediately clear.
However, in his criminal case, Schultz has filed pretrial motions arguing the court should dismiss his case, or suppress his grand jury testimony in the alternative, in light of the fact that he believed Baldwin a former state Supreme Court justice was representing him when he went before a grand jury in early 2011 to discuss allegations against Sandusky.
In court papers, Schultz has pled Baldwin allowed him to "believe she was his unencumbered, conflict-free lawyer," telling him before his grand jury appearance that she would represent him at the proceeding.
Former Penn State athletic director Tim Curley also moved to dismiss his case, or suppress his grand jury testimony in the alternative, arguing in court papers that Baldwin told him she could represent him before the grand jury.
When the two men testified before the grand jury, both said they were being represented by Baldwin.
Baldwin, however, has claimed she was present before the grand jury to represent the university not Schultz or Curley, both of whom have testified she was their lawyer.
As previously reported by The Legal, Baldwin has labeled the whole thing a misunderstanding.
Washington, D.C., attorney Lanny Davis, who Baldwin has previously authorized to speak on her behalf, told the HarrisburgPatriot-News and The Legal that, when Baldwin told supervising Judge Barry Feudale and representatives from the Office of the Attorney General in Feudale's chambers that she represented the university, nobody objected to her listening to the administrators' testimony.
Then, Davis told The Legal, when the administrators testified that Baldwin was their attorney, she did not think it was "appropriate" to interrupt the proceedings and clarify.
Reached Wednesday, Baldwin directed a request for comment to her attorney, Charles A. De Monaco of Fox Rothschild in Pittsburgh.
In an emailed statement, De Monaco said Baldwin's legal team had not received the court papers filed by Schultz as of press time Wednesday. However, the attorney said Baldwin denies any wrongdoing.
"Cynthia Baldwin, as evidenced by her distinguished career and her impeccable reputation, is a person of the highest integrity," the statement said. "The suggestion by anyone that Ms. Baldwin did not fulfill her ethical and professional duties to the Pennsylvania State University and its agents and administrators is untrue. Cynthia Baldwin knows the importance of due process and how legal issues need to play out in courts of law and not in the media. As a result, it is not her intent to publicly address the issuance of a writ or legal issues that are properly before the courts."
After the grand jury proceeding, both Schultz and Curley were charged with lying to the grand jury and failure to report child sex abuse following their testimony.
Former university president Graham Spanier was charged in November with endangering the welfare of children, perjury and criminal conspiracy. Spanier was also charged with a misdemeanor obstruction of justice count and a related conspiracy count.
At that time, the state also brought additional charges against Curley and Schultz, charging each administrator with additional counts of endangering the welfare of children, along with new charges of misdemeanor obstruction of justice and related conspiracy counts.
All three men have maintained their innocence. Sandusky was convicted in June of 45 of 48 counts of child sex abuse and is currently serving a minimum of 30 years in state prison.
Thomas A. Sprague of Sprague & Sprague was unable to be reached for comment at press time late Wednesday on the praecipe for writ of summons.
This article originally appeared in The Legal Intelligencer.