Federal judge dismisses fired BU employee’s lawsuits

Tom Hill. (Photo by Madison Adams)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) A Waco federal district judge on Wednesday dismissed several claims by a fired Baylor athletic department official that named a former regent, the university and the law firm that prepared the report on sexual assaults at the university.

Judge Robert Pitman on Wednesday ordered that a lawsuit filed by Tom Hill naming former regent Neal Jones, the Pepper Hamilton law firm and two of the firm’s now former employees be dismissed in different degrees, and then denied a motion by Hill to remand the lawsuits to state court, according to federal court documents.

Hill worked for Baylor for 28 years and was the athletic department's director of facilities when he was fired on May 31, 2016.

The law firm, its employees and Jones had asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit, which originally was filed Dec. 23, 2016 in 74th State District Court naming Jones, the law firm and Leslie Gomez and Gina Maisto, who conducted the firm’s review of the school’s handling of sexual assaults involving football players.

On Jan. 23 the suit was removed to the federal court system.

Part of Pitman’s order address Hill’s request to remand the lawsuit back to state court because the federal court lacked jurisdiction in the case, which Pitman denied.

Pitman dismissed the action against Jones without prejudice, which means Hill can refile the lawsuit.

But the portion of the lawsuit that named Pepper Hamilton and its former lawyers was dismissed with prejudice, which means they cannot be refiled in federal court.

Hill is now president of a Waco-area minor league baseball team.

He filed the original lawsuit claiming conspiracy, negligence and defamation.

Gomez and Maisto, who’s now Gina Maisto Smith, have since left Pepper Hamilton and joined the firm Cozen O’Connor.

They’re in the process of preparing a report detailing internal and external audits of the implementation of 105 recommendations the Pepper Hamilton firm made to the school.

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