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College Hockey:
Federal judge throws out Milo’s case against Vermont, Sneddon

According to the Burlington Free Press, a federal judge has dismissed a case filed by ex-Vermont forward Justin Milo alleging he was wrongfully cut from the team by head coach Kevin Sneddon back in 2010.

Milo, who filed the lawsuit in 2011, had claimed after he was released from the team that the school and Sneddon neglected to notify him of his right to appeal the decision and harmed his reputation and career prospects in remarks made to the media at the time.

Judge William K. Sessions, in a 29-page opinion filed at U.S. District Court in Burlington this week, disagreed.

“Milo was shocked by his dismissal from the team, and believes that the decision lacked justification, but he does not supply facts that could support a finding of bad faith or wrongdoing,” Sessions wrote in his ruling.

The case is the second this year to reach a decision in federal court in Vermont involving claims by a college hockey player that he was unfairly cut from the team as in June, federal Judge Chistina Reiss issued an opinion siding with Middlebury coach Bill Beaney and against former player James Knelman, who was cut during the 2010-11 season.

In Milo’s case, the judge could not find anything to support his claim.

“Defendants characterize the decision to dismiss Milo as based on a culmination of incidents in which Milo demonstrated a total and unapologetic disregard for team values — namely, ‘work ethic’ and ‘positive attitude,’” Sessions wrote.

In his lawsuit, Milo said he had never had any academic, legal or conduct problems as a student or a hockey player while at UVM. He contended Sneddon, in media interviews, defamed Milo by implication while praising the team’s character and positive attitude in the aftermath of Milo’s departure.

Milo’s lawsuit had sought more than $75,000 in damages.

Sessions, in his opinion, said Sneddon had not hurt Milo in media interviews.

“Coach Sneddon deliberately refrained from any comment that could be construed as referring to Milo,” Sessions wrote. “An expression of optimism that the team was energetically moving forward, combined with praise for the team’s character, cannot reasonably be construed as implying knowledge of facts that would disparage a former team member’s character or work ethic.”


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