The UA has reached a settlement with a former student-athlete who filed a civil lawsuit alleging that the school failed to protect her from a now imprisoned former track and field coach.
No settlement figure was immediately available. However, taxpayers spent close to $3 million to defend the UA and former throws coach Craig Carter in the case.
Carter was sentenced to five years in prison last May after a Pima County jury convicted him of two felony counts of aggravated assault.
Carter admitted to UA police that he grabbed thrower Baillie Gibson by the throat while wielding a box cutter in his other hand and threatening to cut her face. The two had been involved in a yearslong sexual relationship that Gibson said was not consensual.
Gibson filed a lawsuit against Carter and the UA in November 2015, saying that school officials knew about the relationship for nearly two years before Carter’s attack but failed to intervene. Gibson initially asked for $2.5 million to settle her claim.
Because Carter was a state employee, his defense in the civil suit was paid for by the Arizona Department of Administration’s Risk Management Division.
Carter and his wife filed a counterclaim in March 2016, alleging intentional infliction of emotional distress by Gibson. Court documents filed Monday show that a settlement was reached in both Gibson’s lawsuit and the Carters’ counterclaim.
ADOA spokeswoman Megan Rose said that while the state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee approved the settlement Wednesday, the settlement amount was discussed in executive session and therefore not public.
“From our perspective, until both parties have signed the settlement agreement, it’s not finalized,” Rose said.
As of March 23, the state had paid $2,653,571 to defend Carter, the UA and former athletic director Greg Byrne. Byrne was dismissed from the case in 2017, according to public records obtained from the ADOA.
A handful of private law firms were involved in the defense. The Tucson firm of Munger, Chadwick and Denker billed the state a total of $1,482,431 for work performed through Jan. 31. The firm of Rusing, Lopez and Lizardi was hired by the UA in October 2017 to take over the case for the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. For work performed through March 6, the firm had billed the state $1,084,021.
Thorpe Shwer, the firm defending Byrne while he was a party to the suit, billed the state $87,120.
Those billing totals are likely to go up, as the last few months’ worth of bills were not included in the latest response to a public records request.
The settlement effectively ends Gibson’s dispute with the UA and Carter. Gibson’s lawyer is still defending herself in a defamation lawsuit levied by Carter and his wife. The counterclaim against Tucson attorney Lynne Cadigan was filed in July 2016, four months after the Carters filed their counterclaim against Gibson.