U.S. District Judge William Martinez has dismissed a lawsuit filed against Colorado head football coach Mike MacIntyre, athletic director Rick George and the university’s chancellor and president by a woman who has accused former assistant football coach Joe Tumpkin of domestic violence.
Martinez granted the defendants’ motion to dismiss Pamela Fine’s lawsuit, contending that they did not properly respond when she informed them of her allegations against Tumpkin.
In September, Fine filed a separate lawsuit against Tumpkin for assault, battery, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress, which was not affected by Martinez’s ruling.
Martinez wrote in his decision that MacIntyre, George, university chancellor Phil DiStefano and university president Bruce Benson had no legal obligation to protect Fine because she has no direct affiliation with the school.
The judge ruled that the Colorado officials “provided neither access nor cover for Tumpkin’s alleged conduct.”
“Tumpkin’s actions took place outside the scope of his position with the university, and seemingly without his employer’s knowledge,” Martinez wrote. “The tortious contact which (Fine) alleges Tumpkin inflicted upon her in no way depended on his position as a coach with the university in order to be carried out. Absent a special relationship between them and (Fine), therefore, (the defendants) are not liable for a failure to act in response to (Fine’s) complaints.”
In June, 2017, DiStefano was suspended by the university for 10 days without pay, and MacIntyre and George were reprimanded by the school’s board of regents following an external review of how they handled Fine’s allegations against Tumpkin.
As part of the reprimand, MacIntyre and George both donated $100,000 to organizations that address domestic violence.
Martinez in his ruling wrote, “The law does not always require that people with knowledge of bad acts take action.”
The judge did express concern about “the apparent reluctance of the university and its senior athletic staff to take substantial steps to address (Fine’s) allegations until they were publicly reported.”