Michigan State University fires back at Larry Nassar lawsuit

Federal lawsuit claims MSU is partially at fault in Nassar case

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Michigan State is firing back over a lawsuit claiming the university is at least partially at fault in the Larry Nassar case.

One of the key questions that remains in the case is how Nassar was able to keep abusing young girls for years without consequence. That question sparked a federal lawsuit claiming MSU looked the other way.

Now, the school is responding.

READ: Full coverage of Larry Nassar case

Rachael DenHollander is one of the athletes named in the civil case against Michigan State. She said she finds the latest court filing upsetting.

"It is victim blaming and shaming at its finest," DenHollander said.

Attorneys for Michigan State are hoping to toss out the civil suit.

"Although Nassar's actions were repugnant and merit the heavy criminal penalties imposed upon him, the law does not support the plaintiffs' attempts to hold the MSU defendants liable for his wrongs," the lawsuit said.

They're claiming governmental immunity, some of the athletes weren't Michigan State students, the statute of limitations has expired and the victims didn't tell the right people.

Lawyers said the coaches and trainers who knew were not Nassar's supervisors. Wayne State law professor Peter Hennings said some of MSU's arguments have merit.

"I wish I knew who was right," Hennings said. "Michigan State has a good immunity argument."

Hennings doesn't think the argument on statute of limitations will stand, because the young girls didn't know they were being abused.

"If a defendant covers up, that can stomp the statute of limitations," Hennings said.

Attorneys are throwing out every argument they can to see how much of it will stand. Hennings said this likely won't go to trial.

"You cannot put these victims on trial," Hennings said. "Terribly abused. (They) will be very sympathetic to a jury."

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