Claim against U of U seeks $10M in damages, alleges ‘cover up’ in connection to McCluskey case

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – Former University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy and former Officer Miguel Deras, along with three others have filed a notice of claim seeking $10 million in remuneration for damages from the University.

The five claimants allege they were mistreated by the University during and following the investigation into the murder of Lauren McCluskey, a University of Utah student who was murdered on campus in 2018.

A “notice of claim” is not a lawsuit, but is a form filed that signifies the intent to file a lawsuit.

The five claimants argue they have been “rendered unemployable” as a result of claims made by the University.

The claim also alleges the University “conspired to keep secret certain circumstances surrounding, and leading up to Lauren McCluskey’s death.”

The claim goes on to say, “Claimants believe the University concealed evidence, improperly classified records, and wrongfully denied GRAMA requests in order to effectuate this cover up. The apparent objective of the University’s concealment was to maintain its public image and to make it easier for the University to scapegoat or blame officers to appease public outcry. The University willfully, intentionally, or knowingly concealed this evidence which it knew would be relevant to judicial or administrative proceedings.”

The claimants allege the defendants’ actions support the following federal claims:

  • (i) Violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s protection of an individual’s liberty or property interest in their good name and reputation
  • (ii) Violation of the Fifth Amendment’s right to substantive and procedural due process of law, including name clearing;
  • (iii) Violation of the Fifth Amendment’s right against self-incrimination
  • (iv) Violation of the Fourteenth Amendment’s right to substantive and procedural due process of law
  • (v) Retaliation against protected activities
  • (vi) Conspiracy to commit constitutional violations

The claimants allege the defendants’ actions support the following state claims:

  • (i) Violations of an employment contract, express or implied
  • (ii) Recovery of personal property wiz a protected interested ongoing public employment
  • (iii) Damage to property wiz a protected interests ongoing public employment
  • (iv) Injuries proximately caused by acts or omissions of Defendants
  • (v) Actual damages under the Utah Protection of Public Employees Act
  • (vi) State constitutional claims involving Claimaints’ substantive and procedural due process rights
  • (vii) State constitutional claims involving interests in their good names and reputations
  • (viii) Conspiracy to commit state constitutional violations
  • (ix) Violations of the Utah Government Record Access and Management Act
  • (x) Other damages for which liability is not waived under the UGIA

Dale Brophy, who was chief of the University of Utah Police Department at the time of Lauren McCluskey’s murder, is one of five to file the claim notice against the University. Brophy retired from the department in July of 2019, amid criticism that not enough was done to protect McCluskey, who was shot and killed by her ex-boyfriend, Melvin Shawn Roland, outside of her dorm.

In June of 2019, the McCluskey family filed a $56 million lawsuit against the University, arguing that her death was “preventable” and that the murder occurred because of the University’s failure to respond to Lauren’s repeated complaints against Rowland.

Another one of the officers involved in filing the claim, Miguel Deras, was accused of showing inappropriate photos of McCluskey to another officer during the investigation into her murder.

The University launched an investigation into the allegations against Deras and found no evidence that Deras shared such photos.

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