close
close

Former Penn State Football Doctor awarded $5.25 million in wrongful termination lawsuit

A jury in Pennsylvania awarded Dr. Scott Lynch, the former Penn State football team doctor, awarded $5.25 million in damages in his wrongful termination lawsuit against several parties, including his employer Penn State Health. The Dauphin County jury deliberated for several hours Wednesday after a seven-day trial that brought in Penn State coach James Franklin and included testimony from former players Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley.

Pennlive.com reported Wednesday that the jury awarded Lynch $250,000 in compensatory damages and $5 million in compensatory damages resulting from the civil suit filed by Lynch in 2019. The plaintiffs were Penn State Health, Milton S. Hershey Medical Center and Dr. Kevin Black, Lynch’s former supervisor who terminated Lynch as the football team’s orthopedic staff member. physician and director of athletics medicine at Penn State in 2019.

Lynch initially filed the suit against the current defendants, as well as Franklin, Penn State University and two former athletics administrators, including former athletics director Sandy Barbour. In 2020, a judge dropped Franklin, Penn State and the administrators from the lawsuit because Lynch filed it after a Pennsylvania deadline for whistleblower lawsuits.

The lawsuit was scheduled to go to trial in March, but a judge declared a mistral and set a new trial date for May. Despite no longer being a plaintiff in the lawsuit, Franklin and Penn State football were central subjects of the trial. In his 2019 filing, Lynch claimed he was removed from his position after reporting “Franklin’s attempts to influence and disrupt plaintiff’s medical management and return-to-play decisions regarding student athletes.” Trial testimony repeated the allegations.

In a 2019 statement, Lynch said he filed the suit “with grave concerns for the safety of the college athlete…” Lynch continues to work at Penn State Health as an orthopedic surgeon and director of sports medicine.

“Please note that prior to filing this lawsuit, I filed informal complaints with Hershey Medical Center and the PSU Athletics Integrity Officer that the autonomy of medical providers was being challenged, and I have made recommendations to address this concern to control,” Lynch said in the statement. “If the recommendations are implemented, I believe they will make great progress in ensuring medical autonomy and student-athlete protections.

“To my disappointment, my recommendations have not been embraced. I understood that
Since I was terminated from my position with Penn State Athletics in retaliation for and as a result of my complaints, my concerns have been investigated by the PSU Athletics Integrity Office. Unfortunately, the results of the study remain unpublished and have been withheld from me. I hope that this civil action will serve to perfect the change that my informal efforts have failed to achieve.”

According to Pennlive, Lynch’s attorney Steven Marino told the jury in closing arguments that “Dr. Lynch wouldn’t budge. He did not want Coach Franklin to interfere with his medical autonomy.” In the defense’s closing argument, attorney Sarah Bouchard said Lynch, who worked in Hershey while serving as team physician, was not available full-time at State College and was therefore unavailable In 2019, Penn State University asked for the lawsuit to be dismissed, saying Lynch was a “disgruntled” former team doctor.

“Despite the unwavering commitment to the well-being and safety of students and athletes demonstrated for decades by the university, Ms. Barbour, Ms. (Charmelle) Green (former senior associate athletic director) and coach Franklin, the plaintiff in this lawsuit – dissatisfied because removed from his position as the football team’s orthopedic physician and director of sports medicine – has directly called into question the reputation these defendants have built,” Penn State said in its 2019 response to Lynch’s lawsuit. “The University Defendants reject Plaintiff’s attempt to denigrate decades of exemplary commitment to the University’s student-athletes and are prepared to defend against its claims.”

AllPennState is the home for Penn State news, opinions and perspectives on the SI.com network. Publisher Mark Wogenrich has covered Penn State for more than two decades, tracking three coaching staffs, three Big Ten titles and a catalog of great stories. Follow him on Twitter @MarkWogenrich.

Back To Top