Former football players win motion to consolidate cases with Fitzgerald’s lawsuit against NU

CHICAGO — Attorneys representing a group of former Northwestern University football players who filed hazing lawsuits against the school have been granted a request to consolidate the their cases with former head football coach Pat Fitzgerald’s lawsuit against Northwestern for discovery purposes.

According to a spokesperson for Salvi, Schostok and Pritchard Law Firm, attorneys representing the former athletes filed a motion to consolidate the cases with former head football coach Pat Fitzgerald’s breach of contract and defamation lawsuit against Northwestern, with the motion being granted during a hearing on Tuesday. In a separate hearing same day, all discovery in the Fitzgerald lawsuit was stayed, pending further orders of the court. The April 2025 trial date in the Fitzgerald matter was also stricken.

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The spokesperson also said it is anticipated that another request will be made to proceed with consolidated trials, where a single jury will hear several former players’ cases at the same time the Fitzgerald lawsuit is heard.

The players who have filed lawsuits in the Circuit Court of Cook County alleged they were subjected to racial discrimination, hazing, physical abuse, and retaliation while part of the athletic program.

“Both the hazing litigation and the Fitzgerald lawsuit name Northwestern University, and all cases have multiple overlapping issues, most notably the nature and extent of the alleged abuse and the action (or inaction) of Northwestern University,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys stated. “The same allegations of abuse cited in the hazing litigation are the same allegations that became the catalyst for Fitzgerald’s termination, of which he complains in his lawsuit.

“Additionally, four of the hazing cases and the Fitzgerald lawsuit also name Northwestern President Michael Schill as a defendant. Our goal is to proceed to trial in a cohesive fashion that avoids the parties seeking the same information from the same sources and witnesses in two separate court cases.”

The Plaintiffs are represented by Patrick A. Salvi II, Lance D. Northcutt, and Jennifer M. Cascio of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C. and Parker G. Stinar and Bryce T. Hensley of Stinar Gould Grieco & Hensley, PLLC.

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