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Simon lawsuit moves to Pima County

By Eric Swedlund
Arizona Daily Wildcat
March 4, 1999
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Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Daily Wildcat

Miles Simon former UA basketball star

Attorneys for former UA basketball star Miles Simon confirmed a $1 million suit against the university will be submitted in Pima County Superior Court today.

Milton Grimes, Simon's lawyer, said a California federal district court judge decided Monday that the defamation and invasion of privacy lawsuit fell under Arizona Superior Court jurisdiction.

"I think the people of Arizona can be fair and impartial," Grimes said yesterday, adding that he did not believe the change of venue would affect the case's outcome.

Simon filed the lawsuit in response to the Kansas City Star's Oct. 10, 1997 article, "MVP made grade only on the court," which alleged Simon received preferential treatment at the University of Arizona for playing basketball.

Defendants in the suit include the Arizona Board of Regents, UA Vice President for Undergraduate Education Michael Gottfredson and Laura Anderson, the university transcript supervisor.

UA President Peter Likins' name appeared on the district court lawsuit filed Oct. 13, but was subsequently dropped because Likins was not president at the time of the alleged damages, Grimes said.

Releasing a student's personal information, including grades or transcripts, is prohibited under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974. Simon's suit alleges someone within the university illegally released his records.

"The offense was committed, the damage was done, and the university and newspaper are responsible," Grimes said. "All we ask for is impartiality."

Simon's court document said he was "held up to public ridicule and his privacy was invaded and he was humiliated and made to suffer embarrassment."

The Kansas City Star, reporter Mike McGraw, publisher Arthur Brisbane and Knight Ridder Corp., the paper's parent company, are also named in the suit. Simon claims they violated his privacy, inflicted emotional distress and defamed him by publishing the article.

Simon's injuries include inconvenience, insult, mental distress, embarrassment, humiliation, anxiety and emotional pain and suffering, according to the court document.

He is also seeking $25,000 in punitive damages for each count against the defendants.

Grimes said he is confident that "everybody will step up and be responsible for what has been done."

UA attorney Mike Proctor declined comment yesterday because of the pending litigation.