Local News

State appeals court to hear Duke lacrosse slander case

Posted December 16, 2008 6:41 p.m. EST
Updated December 16, 2008 8:29 p.m. EST

— The North Carolina Court of Appeals on Tuesday scheduled oral arguments for next month in a lawsuit that Duke University's  former men's lacrosse coach filed against the school.

A three-judge panel will hear the case Jan. 14 and rule whether it can move ahead in the courts or should go to arbitration.

Mike Pressler filed a slander and libel lawsuit earlier this year. He claims that Duke's senior vice president for public affairs at the time of the case, John Burness, made defamatory statements about him in regard to a high-profile criminal investigation involving three of his former players.

Pressler was forced to resign in April 2006, shortly after Durham police began investigating a stripper's claims she was raped at a lacrosse team party in March of that year. The players were cleared of all charges in April 2007.

In March 2007, Pressler and Duke reached an undisclosed financial settlement, but he claims Burness' comments violated terms of that settlement.

Superior Court Judge Howard Manning denied a motion by Duke's attorneys to force the lawsuit into arbitration, meaning the case could be pursued in court.

Duke appealed the ruling.