Back on October 14th of last year, a former Virginia Cavaliers football player—Aidan Howard—filed a lawsuit in federal court in Pennsylvania. His complaint alleged that players, coaches from the new coaching staff, and University administrators either committed, encouraged, or allowed a system of ritualistic hazing of freshman players.
Now it looks like the suit is fizzling out.
After being ordered in mid-October to begin alternative dispute resolution (formal, court-supervised mediation), Howard and his attorneys have not filed anything with the court. Under the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a lawsuit can get dismissed if the plaintiff fails to take necessary steps to move the case forward.
On June 29th, the judge issued an order for Howard to “show cause” why the suit should not be dismissed—in other words, Howard had to convince the judge that Howard was still interested in there being a case. The deadline for Howard to do so was July 21st. According to the court’s electronic docket system, as of August 3rd, nothing has been filed in response to the court’s order. The full order is here:
The most likely outcome now is that the University and the individual defendants—including President Teresa Sullivan, Athletic Director Craig Littlepage, and wide receivers coach Marques Hagans—will move the court to dismiss the case, with the court granting the defendants’ motion. If that happens, the dismissal is considered an “adjudication on the merits,” which means Howard would not be able to bring a second suit, even in state court.