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Jury Rules in Favor of Fired Penn State Football Doctor

Penn State Football: Beaver Stadium
Jarrod Prugar

A Dauphin County jury has ruled in favor of a former Penn State football Dr. who, in 2019, claimed coach James Franklin got in the way of his and the medical staff’s decision-making, per PennLive.

As a result, Dr. Scott Lynch — who made these claims after his firing — has been awarded $5.25 million.

Additionally, PennLive reported that the jury decided on the $5 million based on the amount of punitive damages and the remaining $250,000 in compensatory damages.

It’s important to note that both Franklin and Penn State athletics were dropped from the lawsuit due to “a filing technicality,” PennLive reported.

Per an expert testifying on behalf of Lynch, the compensatory sum was less than a third of what he wanted. He was initially seeking $772,000, per the expert. Lynch also wanted punitive damages to, per PennLive, “punish the defendants for what Lynch’s attorney alleges was retaliation for his client’s clashes with Franklin and a subsequent coverup by Penn State Health to distance the coach from the decision to oust the doctor.”

Lynch alleged that his firing took place in the aftermath of multiple disagreements with Franklin that centered around both medical decision-making and specific ideas of treating injured players.

Lynch said his dismissal was due to him refusing to “allow a coach to interfere with his medical treatment and return to play decisions.”

The trial lasted seven days and also featured a second former PSU doctor testifying, as well as two of Franklin’s best all-time players, Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley. The two testified on behalf of their former coach.

“He never said play through the pain,” Barkley said Tuesday, per PennLive. “I was so focused on myself, trying to rehab to get back on the football field. When you’re a competitor and you play the game you love, you want to get back out there.”

McSorley said he was asked by Franklin to appear on behalf of the defense and said his decision to return to the 2019 Citrus Bowl against Kentucky amid a foot injury was his decision and Franklin didn’t pressure him through that injury or any other.

“I lobbied for myself to go back out and try to win that game,” McSorley testified.

“His (Franklin’s) first inclination was always to see how I’m doing,” McSorley said, adding that Franklin would said things like: “How’s the recovery going? How are you feeling?”

”He was always asking me where I was, how I felt,” McSorley said.

The defense claimed there was no evidence of Lynch ever changing the way he treated players based on pressure from Franklin or anyone else.

In her closing statement, defense attorney Sara Bouchard said that her clients “did nothing wrong in removing a Hershey-bound football doctor who wasn’t all-in on performing his Penn State duties because he was never available in State College full time.”

In his closing argument, Lynch’s attorney, Steven Marino, said Lynch “wouldn’t relent,” to Franklin.

“He would not let Coach Franklin interfere with his medical autonomy,” Marino said.

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