MISSOULA — A judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit filed by a former University of Montana women’s soccer coach who claimed the school illegally released information saying he used his work-issued cellphone to contact escort services during recruiting trips to Las Vegas.
Missoula District Court Judge John Larson dismissed Mark Plakorus’ lawsuit Wednesday, agreeing with the university that the coach had not exhausted the grievance remedies in his contract before taking the matter to court.
In January 2018, the university announced Plakorus was resigning and later said one or more players had complained that he was texting them too much and at odd times. An investigation found the complaint lacked merit, but it revealed the phone numbers associated with escort services.
Plakorus argued that he was not married, he texted women in response to personal ads and it was his choice how he spent personal time on recruiting trips. He did, however, acknowledge that using a university-issued cellphone was a mistake.
Plakorus’ attorney, Quentin Rhoades, told The Missoulian on Friday he plans to appeal Larson’s ruling, which stated Plakorus did not file the lawsuit within a one-year statute of limitations for contract disputes. Rhoades said the case does not involve a contract dispute but a violation of Plakorus’ constitutional right to privacy.
“We are therefore confident that the (Montana) Supreme Court will reverse the decision and send it back for a jury trial on merits,” Rhoades said.
The lawsuit claimed the university violated Plakorus’ right to privacy by releasing certain employment details to media outlets following his dismissal. It also said the university’s handling of the situation made it more difficult to get another job.
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