Three former Minnesota-Duluth women’s sports coaches are suing the university for discrimination and estimate their damages at $18 million, according to court documents filed recently ahead of a Monday hearing on the case, the Duluth News Tribune has reported.
Former women’s hockey coach Shannon Miller, former softball coach Jen Banford and former women’s basketball coach Annette Wiles are the plaintiffs.
That $18 million total includes $8 million for Miller and $5 million each for Banford and Wiles.
The lawsuit seeks back pay, front pay, damages for emotional distress, compensatory damages and reasonable attorneys’ fees, costs and prejudgment interest.
The paper reported that a statement filed Jan. 20 by the attorneys for the three coaches again outline claims of discrimination based on age, gender, sexual orientation and – in the case of Banford and Miller – national origin. Both are Canadian.
The women also claim “discrimination by an educational institution receiving federal assistance, reprisal because of their reporting of that discrimination, creation of a hostile work environment, violation of federal and state equal pay statutes, and violation of the Minnesota Whistleblower Act,” the report reads.
Miller led the women’s hockey team to five national championships in her 16 years as head coach, and was informed in Dec. 2014 that her contract would not be renewed after that season.
The three former coaches filed the initial lawsuit in Sept. 2015.
“Because defendant’s conduct has caused ongoing damages for each plaintiff, it is not possible to provide an accurate itemization of damages at this time,” the document states. “However, plaintiffs have reasonably calculated their aggregate losses to be approximately $18,000,000.”
In Nov. 2015, the three coaches and five current or former student-athletes also filed a Title IX complaint against the school, asking the federal Office for Civil Rights to investigate UMD on more than 50 gender discrimination allegations between women’s and men’s sports teams.
Minnesota-Duluth has disputed those claims.