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Purdue appeals Wartell decision

Court: Give report to ex-IPFW leader

Wartell

Attorneys for Purdue University are appealing a recent decision in the federal case concerning the 2011 termination of former IPFW Chancellor Michael Wartell.

In July, a federal magistrate judge ruled in much the same way as Indiana’s Court of Appeals in a similar case related to Wartell’s ouster. In both cases, Purdue University lost its ability to claim that reports compiled by an attorney paid by the school were protected by attorney-client privilege.

At both the state and federal level now, courts have ruled that Wartell is entitled to the report compiled by attorney John C. Trimble.

After his removal, Wartell filed a complaint against the university in Tippecanoe County, challenging his retirement and claiming discrimination and harassment. Purdue hired Trimble as an independent investigator.

The investigation was completed in February 2013 and reported to a group of Purdue board members, which found that no discrimination had taken place.

Wartell also filed a federal lawsuit, alleging that the school had never enforced the policy on anyone who did not want to leave, including chancellors.

During the course of the state lawsuit, Purdue refused to disclose the Trimble report, a decision smacked down by the Indiana Court of Appeals, which ruled that the document was a public record.

In the federal lawsuit, a federal magistrate judge ruled in July that the document was subject to discovery and should be disclosed as part of the lawsuit process, according to court documents.

According to the federal lawsuit, in late 2010 or early 2011, then-Purdue President France Cordova announced in a meeting that, before her term as president was over, she wanted to increase the number of women in the administration.

Requests from IPFW that Wartell be allowed to stay were denied. Purdue replaced him with a 64-year-old woman, Vicky Carwein, and she assumed his duties in September 2012.

In the federal case, Magistrate Judge Andrew P. Rodovich ruled that it appears Trimble was acting as an independent investigator, having not offered any legal advice to the university. On July 24, Rodovich ordered Purdue’s attorneys to turn the report over to Wartell’s attorneys within 14 days, a deadline that expired Thursday.

Late Thursday, Purdue’s attorneys filed their objection to Rodovich’s decision and requested a stay of enforcement of that order.

rgreen@jg.net

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