HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. -- Northern Kentucky University wants the federal judge thrown off a case involving the university's handling of a student's sexual assault charges.
NKU said the law firm representing the unnamed woman who accused the university of mishandling her rape allegations hired U.S. District Judge William Bertelsman's grandson while the case was pending.
The potential conflict of interest, which NKU's lead attorney learned about at a cocktail party in March, disqualifies Bertelsman from overseeing the case, according to the filing.
"As the conversation with Judge Bertelsman ended, he stated something to the effect of, 'You know my grandson is working for Kevin (Murphy, lead attorney for the plaintiff) and they had erected a 'Chinese wall.'' I was not aware of Kevin Murphy's law had hired the judge's grandson," Jeffrey Mando, NKU's attorney, said in an affidavit filed late Thursday.
"We believe this is a desperate and baseless move to avoid that and a trial on the merits, which is just around the corner," Murphy said.
He said federal law plainly allows for the grandson to be part of the firm while the case is before Bertelsman as long as he is not working on the case. And he said the grandson is not working on the case.