Federal Judge Orders Lawyers to Confer in Kingfisher Hazing Lawsuit

A federal judge ordered the counsels involved in the Kingfisher hazing lawsuit to confer with each other regarding the scope of the documents that should be turned over.

Thursday, May 18th 2023, 10:23 pm

By: Chris Yu

A federal judge ordered the counsels involved in the Kingfisher hazing lawsuit to confer with each other regarding the scope of the documents that should be turned over.

U.S. District Judge Charles Goodwin made the decision during a hearing Thursday afternoon at the William J. Halloway Jr. U.S. Courthouse in Oklahoma City.

The lawsuit is against the Kingfisher Independent School District and four of its coaches - Football Head Coach Jeff Myers, Micah Nall, Derek Patterson and Blake Eaton. In the lawsuit, a former player of the Kingfisher High School football program alleges that he and other players were subjected to a wide range of mental, physical and sexual abuse dating back to 2005, when Myers took over the program. The plaintiff alleges that Myers and his staff knew, encouraged, and in some cases took part in the abuse.

The plaintiff's motion to compel discovery details the alleged abuse that took place. One such case was in the fall of 2018, when the plaintiff was allegedly pinned down in the locker room by four older players, while a fifth player sexually assaulted him, according to the plaintiff's motion to compel discovery. Myers then allegedly called a team meeting and told them to stop talking about the sexual assault in order to protect the football program, the document said.

The plaintiff alleged that in another instance, in or around 2019, Myers threw a football at the plaintiff's genitals, knocking him down in front of his teammates while the plaintiff was wearing a brace on his arm to recover from an injured hand, said the document.

The plaintiff's motion to compel discovery also detailed how other players were allegedly sexually assaulted while in the football program. The document said players sexually assaulted a student in the Kingfisher High School locker room in the fall of 2008 and again in the fall of 2019. In both cases, the alleged attacks happened in the same manner that the plaintiff experienced in 2018, the motion stated.

In the fall of 2021, a Kingfisher football player revealed that freshmen were allegedly being whipped with wet towels and beaten with a PVC pipe while in the high school locker room, the document said. Only after a parent complained did Myers tell the players to stop the hazing, according to the motion.

Furthermore, the plaintiff's motion to compel discovery alleged that players and/or coaches organized fights in the locker room called "The Ring," pitting freshmen against each other or against bigger upperclassmen. The document accused the coaches of watching the fights and guessing which student would win. On at least one occasion, a coach allegedly wrestled a student himself in The Ring while the other coaches watched, said the document.

"Even worse, Coach Myers would reinforce that message by telling the players that 'what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room,' actively discouraging players from reporting the abuse," the document said.

In other cases of alleged abuse, upperclassmen ambushed underclassmen with paintball and airsoft guns, whipped younger players with wet towels until they bled, or shocked them with a stun gun while they were tying their shoes, according to the motion. Some older boys also urinated in the underclassmen's helmets, the document alleged.

Furthermore, the motion detailed the alleged abuse that students suffered at the hands of Myers. During one instance in the fall of 2010, Myers allegedly endangered a football player with a staph infection by trying to "squeeze the bacteria out of the player's infected knee, apparently so that the player would be able to play in the upcoming game," the document said. Myers also allegedly touched a player inappropriately to embarrass him in front of his teammates, according to the document.

The plaintiff's attorneys are calling for Myers to be fired and are suing Kingfisher Independent School District for $10 million. The district initially rejected a $1.5 million settlement, prompting the attorneys for the plaintiff to raise the settlement offer to $5 million. After that offer expired, the total was increased to $10 million.

The plaintiff's attorneys said the defendants wanted to limit the number of documents that should be turned over to the four years that the plaintiff attended Kingfisher High School, from 2017 to 2021.

But during Thursday's hearing on the plaintiff's motion to compel discovery, Judge Goodwin said the scope should be broader. He suggested that the discovery requests for the coaches listed as defendants should span the duration of their employment, including Myers, who took over the football program in 2005.

Goodwin then ordered the attorneys for the plaintiff and the defendants to confer with each other on what time periods they believe are the most appropriate for each discovery request. Cameron Spradling, one of the plaintiff's attorneys, told News 9 he did not expect an agreement to be made on Thursday.

Spradling said he and the plaintiff's other attorneys have requested the defendants to turn over emails with certain keywords related to the case, such as "bullying," "hazing," and various sex acts that were allegedly performed on students. Spradling said about 33,000 emails may contain those keywords.

"It's not a football culture. It's a football cult," Spradling said.

Spradling said as of Thursday, a trial was set for September.

News 9 reached out to the attorneys representing the defendants but have not heard back.


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