Former USC football star and Athletic Director Mike Garrett and his lawyers are filing a motion to dismiss a case against him alleging he sexually harassed a colleague working at Cal State Los Angeles.
The initial case against Garrett was filed Aug. 29, 2016 in the Los Angeles Superior Court by Cal State L.A. senior associate Shelia Hudson, who claimed Garrett referred to her and other female employees as “Babe,” “Sweetheart,” “Love” and “Legs” while serving as athletic director of CSULA.
Garrett and his lawyers have long denied the allegations, and last week filed papers asking for a dismissal of the trial citing lack of evidence. The hearing date regarding the motion to dismiss is set for Aug. 30.
Court papers filed by Garrett’s lawyers argue Hudson targeted Garrett because she felt the athletic director position was stolen from her after former director Dan Bridges retired in 2015.
Defense lawyers for Garrett have also suggested that he used “gender neutral terms of endearment” in addressing both men and women on his staff, including current athletic director Daryl Gross. According to the defense’s paperwork, three women who Hudson claimed were harassed were interviewed and determined to not have been insulted by Garrett’s words.
During depositions, Garrett said Hudson was missing from the office regularly, making it difficult to assess her skill set.
Hudson was sued by her former employer and three CSULA employees, alleging she secretly recorded conversations with them in 2016. In Hudson’s deposition, she admitted to using her cell phone to record conversations with three plaintiffs.
Hudson’s lawyer said her client may soon file a counter claim for wrongful termination.
Garrett, a Los Angeles native, went to Roosevelt High School and attended USC as a star halfback. He won the Heisman Trophy and was named UPI College Player of the Year in 1965 while playing for the Trojans. He played eight seasons in the NFL, for both the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers. He retired after two AFL championships and a Super Bowl ring.
He then returned to Los Angeles and served a 17-season tenure as USC’s athletic director, during which he returned USC football to the national spotlight. Following USC president C. L. Max Nikias’ inauguration in 2010, it was announced that Pat Haden would replace Garrett.