Liberty University files motion to dismiss lawsuit by former employee

Liberty University
Liberty University(WDBJ)
Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 10:45 PM EST
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Liberty University has filed a motion to dismiss a lawsuit by a former employee.

Dr. John Markley filed that lawsuit last November. He’s asking for a trial by jury and $20 million in damages. The suit claims Markley was fired by the university in retaliation for whistleblowing activities.

The improper activities Markley claims to have reported include:

a. Unjust enrichment due to the potentially fraudulent management of a network of charitable organizations by LU;

b. Unjust enrichment due to the potentially fraudulent management of a network of corporate subsidiaries of LU;

c. Improper use of LU assets such as a jet airplane owned by LU;

d. Unjust enrichment due to the implementation of faculty textbook selections and sales;

e. Improper financial account activities and transactions in the Department of Academic Affairs and the Provost’s Office budget; 4

f. Improper acts to thwart and/or obstruct the aims of Title IX and corrective measures to combat sexual assault on campus;

g. An improper compensation scheme for LU business executives;

h. LU’s intentional misrepresentation of acceptance rates and enrollment numbers for improper financial gain;

i. LU’s intentional misrepresentation of financial holdings for improper financial gain;

j. LU’s intentional concealment of assets/revenue through the use of third-party business entities;

k. Conflicts of interest related to parties hired to allegedly investigate incidents of wrongdoing at LU;

l. LU’s retaliatory actions taken against employees of LU;

m. Misrepresentations to the public and to accreditors regarding the academic programs of LU;

n. Intentional destruction of likely relevant evidence illustrating LU’s wrongdoing to which LU knew it had a duty to preserve under the law; and

o. Improper and incorrect information regarding employee data submitted to federal customs and immigration officials.

See the full court paperwork below this story.

Dr. Markley worked for LU from 2008 to 2022, starting as an adjunct member, serving as an Associate Professor and at the time of his termination, he was Administrative Dean for Academic Operations.

Markley claims he relayed his concerns to LU leadership as early as 2018, even disclosing improper activities to LU layers investigating for the Board of Trustees and to federal authorities.

In this week’s filing, the University seeks to dismiss the suit, saying Markley’s claims are too broad and won’t hold weight in court.

The University states in his lawsuit, Dr. Markley never says when or to whom he reported these violations of state or federal law to.

LU wants an “evidentiary hearing” and you can find its complete statement from a university spokesperson below:

“The allegations in the lawsuit filed by John Markley, a former administrator at Liberty University, are without merit. The university believes the Court will agree.

Liberty University will file a point-by-point refutation of the allegations beginning with the fact that Dr. Markley was let go from the university as a result of an administrative reorganization.

During his time of employment at the university, Dr. Markley expressed his opinions on certain administrative matters. His opinions were taken seriously and addressed appropriately, even when unfounded.

Dr. Markley’s separation was wholly unrelated to any allegation of misconduct. Liberty only learned of his communications with a Federal agency several months after his separation from the university. We are confident that any fair and impartial review of his claim will determine that the allegations in his complaint are simply inaccurate or false.

While Liberty wished Dr. Markley well, we are confident that the university has treated him appropriately and look forward to vigorously defending against these unfounded claims.”

Markley plans another motion.