Donald Gaines and Penn "amicably resolved" the suit, which alleged Penn unlawfully searched his car. A $3 million lawsuit filed against the University last May by University President Judith Rodin's former driver came to an abrupt, out-of-court end last week -- but neither side would say exactly how or why. In the suit, Donald Gaines, who was fired last year after University Police found a gun and marijuana in his car, accused the University of unlawfully searching his car and causing him emotional and financial distress. "Amicably resolved" were the two words repeated by University officials and Gaines' attorney to describe how the case ended. Both sides provided few specifics and refused to say whether the University had paid Gaines to settle the lawsuit. "The resolution of the case is not, and should not be, interpreted as an admission of liability," University spokesperson Ken Wildes said in a prepared statement. "We have come, quite simply, to resolution." Wildes, Associate General Counsel Brenda Fraser and University outside counsel Nancy Gellman declined to comment on the case. Howard Bruce Klein, the attorney representing then-University Police Officer John Washington -- who was promoted to sergeant in May -- didn't respond yesterday to several telephone messages. As a result of the agreement, U.S. District Court Judge Clarence Newcomer dismissed the case with prejudice last Tuesday, meaning that Gaines can't file suit again. "I think both parties are very satisfied" with the settlement, said Gaines' attorney, Marc Perry. The Gaineses, who are in their 40s and live in Philadelphia, don't have a listed telephone number. Perry refused to arrange an interview between the Gaineses and The Daily Pennsylvanian. "Both parties were confident that a resolution could be reached outside of court," Perry said. "At that point, there was no further reason to continue." Perry added that "a lot of details [of the agreement] still have to be worked out." Gaines, hired as Rodin's driver and bodyguard in April 1995, was fired in March 1996 after a University Police officer discovered the firearm and drugs -- as well as ammunition and empty beer cans -- in the car, which was parked in the University-owned garage at 38th and Walnut streets. Gaines was never charged with a crime. He had a concealed-weapons permit to carry his registered .22-caliber revolver. In the complaint filed in U.S. District Court last May, Gaines and his wife accused the defendants -- the University, the University Police Department, Washington, Rodin and Rodin's chief of staff, Stephen Schutt -- of conspiracy, invasion of privacy, causing emotional distress and violating his civil rights. Gaines sought $3 million in damages in the lawsuit for "loss of financial stability, peace of mind and future security" as well as "embarrassment, humiliation, mental and emotional distress and discomfort," according to the complaint. Gaines, a 23-year Philadelphia Police veteran, claimed that University Police officers didn't like him because they wanted Rodin to hire a guard from within the department. He "was continuously advised to watch his step," the lawsuit states. In an October 6 decision, Newcomer dismissed the conspiracy and invasion of privacy claims, as well as some civil rights charges. But he allowed several other civil rights claims to proceed against the University and Rodin. Newcomer also ruled that Gaines couldn't name the University Police Department as a defendant because it was legally the same entity as the University. The suit was scheduled to get a trial date after February 3.Comments powered by Disqus
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