DSU Equestrian suits could avoid trial

    The lawyer for DSU recruit Melia Blakely is hopeful his client’s suit against DSU over dropping its equestrian team can be resolved outside the courtroom.

    The lawyer for DSU recruit Melia Blakely is hopeful his client’s suit against Delaware State over dropping its equestrian team can be resolved outside the courtroom.

    “The hope is a resolution prior to a trial,”  said Ron Poliquin, Blakely’s attorney. “The lines of communication remain open between all the parties, and (the hope is) that we resolve this without going through what can sometimes be a very contentious, expensive legal process.”

    Blakely, who signed with DSU last November, is suing the university, claiming the school’s decision to drop the sport violates Title IX gender equity requirements.  She also claims the decision amounts to fraud, breach of good faith and breach of contract.   15 members of the current DSU squad have filed a similar Title IX suit against DSU and, like Blakley, are seeking a preliminary injunction and and temporary restraining order to keep the university from disbanding the team, as planned, at the end of this school year.

    Poliquin’s comments come following a conference call involving attorneys from all sides and Delaware District Court Judge Leonard Stark Friday morning.   Judge Stark is prepared to schedule a preliminary hearing in the first two weeks of April, if the two sides have not come to a resolution before then.

    Poliquin suggests alternative dispute resolution is possible, including mediation.  His goal is to see Blakely’s dream of riding at the collegiate level fulfilled.

    “My client just wants to ride horses.  That’s been her lifelong dream.  She’s one of those individuals that are very special at what they do, as far as athletes and that what she wants to do,” Poliquin said.

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