The publisher and co-author of escort Katina Powell's book alleging that former University of Louisville men's basketball staffer Andre McGee hired her and other dancers for sex parties at the team's dormitory have countersued a group of Louisville students, saying they attempted to "extort" a monetary settlement in their action alleging Powell and the book devalued their education.
Indianapolis-based IBJ Book Publishing LLC and author Dick Cady filed suit Friday in Jefferson Circuit Court, alleging the students sought notoriety for themselves and their attorneys and lacked proof of their allegations.
Kyle Hornback and three other students sued Powell last fall, saying her book, "Breaking Cardinal Rules: Basketball and the Escort Queen," damaged the school's reputation.
Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Mitch Perry dismissed the students' suit in April, saying the accusations had no merit.
“A current or future student could potentially bring a claim against a university for virtually any negative assertion which has a real or imagined impact on that student’s education,” Perry wrote in his ruling. “Allowing this claim to go forward would allow these plaintiffs to drastically expand the avenues of civil liability and recovery in the commonwealth of Kentucky.”
The students' co-counsel, Nader George Shunnarah, said Tuesday "that when all is said and done, we will be vindicated."
While Perry denied the students' argument for recovery in the suit, he allowed six women and a man named in the book to proceed with separate defamation complaints against Powell, Cady and IBJ Publishing, a sister company to IBJ Media.
Powell's book led to an NCAA investigation and prompted Louisville to self-impose sanctions on its men's basketball program.
In its countersuit, IBJ Book Publishing said it felt the action was necessary because the students did not retract their lawsuit even after University of Louisville President James Ramsey said the school "determined that it was reasonable to conclude that violations had occurred in the men’s basketball program.”
Instead, the students continued to make "baseless claims" against the book publisher and Powell in an effort to damage their reputations, restrain their First Amendment Rights and seek a monetary settlement.
The countersuit accuses the students and their attorney of "abusing the process" of the court and acting "with oppression or malice, or in a grossly negligent or reckless manner, thus entitling IBJ Book Publishing and Cady to recover punitive damages" and attorney fees.