Lawyers for ORU, Roberts fire back
BY APRIL MARCISZEWSKI World Staff Writer
Saturday, October 27, 2007
10/29/07 at 1:29 PM
For more: Read the latest stories, view the lawsuit and other documents and watch slide shows and video.
Motions claim the
professors are using
the media, and a gag
order is sought.
Attorneys for Oral Roberts
University, President Richard
Roberts and three other administrators alleged Friday in
court filings that three former
ORU professors are trying
their lawsuit in the media.
ORU and the administrators
said in their legal motion that
publicity allegedly manipulated by the professors and their
attorneys could lower the possibility of a fair trial. They want
the professors and their attorneys barred from talking
about the case outside of
The court filings Friday
were the first made by ORU
and the administrators since
the professors sued them Oct.
2 for allegedly wrongfully firing them or forcing them to resign.
"Plaintiffs and their counsel
are abusing the judicial process by using it as a basis for
press conferences and publicity," the motion states. ". . . The
barrage of news coverage is
especially damaging" because the professors and
their attorneys have included unsubstantiated, detailed
allegations of misconduct
with their lawsuit "when
even plaintiffs admit they do
not know if those statements are true."
The motion refers to a report allegedly compiled by
Roberts' sister-in-law, Stephanie Cantees, that Roberts has said consists of
false rumors. The professors claim they were fired
or forced to resign because
they turned over the report
to ORU's board of regents.
The report alleges the
Roberts family misspent
ORU and Oral Roberts Ministries money, and Roberts'
wife, Lindsay Roberts, had
an inappropriate relationship with a boy, among other claims.
In another filing Friday,
Roberts' attorneys allege
that the report was included
with the lawsuit "in an effort
to harass and injure Dr.
Roberts and his family," indicating "the dishonorable
motivations behind plaintiffs' lawsuit."
Roberts, the other administrators and ORU allege in
their motion that the former
professors and their attorneys "appear to have devised a scheme to slander
defendants while hiding behind the litigation privilege,
all in hope of achieving a
quick, lucrative settlement
of an employment lawsuit."
Attorneys for Roberts
asked the court Friday to
throw out two versions of legal petitions filed by the professors because the first
version did not say which alleged facts went with which
legal claims or which claims
were made against which
defendants, and the second
version was filed in violation
of court procedures.
Attorneys for Roberts, the
other administrators and
ORU also called for the second version -- which added
the ORU board of regents
as a defendant -- to be dismissed because of procedural errors. They said the
second amended petition
"should be treated as if it
was never filed." Therefore,
the board would not be a defendant.
ORU and the administrators made another court filing Friday that asked the
court to throw out the first
amended petition and order
the professors and their attorneys to rewrite their petition in a format that would
allow the defendants "to either admit or deny or otherwise respond to each fact or
set of circumstances."
The current format, Roberts claimed in one of his filings, "bears far greater resemblance to a fictional
short story or a press release than it does to a legally compliant petition."
Roberts' legal motion
called the lawsuit fatally
flawed and baseless and
said, "Dr. Roberts denies
each and every allegation or
inference of wrongful conduct related to plaintiff's
claims involving wrongful
ORU and the administrators asked the court to hear
the case as soon as possible
"to avoid further prejudice
Frank M. Hagedorn, an
attorney for Roberts, was
unavailable for an interview
just before 5 p.m. Friday.
Gary Richardson, an attorney for the professors, did
not return a call to his cell
April Marciszewski 581-8475
want parts of the