KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. (WVLT)
-- On Friday, a Knox County Circuit Court judge denied the motion to
dismiss a case brought by two Hardin Valley baseball coaches against a
Plaintiffs Joe Michalski and Zach Luther, the head and assistant
baseball coaches at Hardin Valley Academy, filed a lawsuit Wednesday
against a mother who previously filed a complaint that launched an
investigation into the coaches' conduct in March of this year.
Sheri Super, named as the defendant in the lawsuit, is the parent of a
high school student athlete who was a member of the baseball team at
Hardin Valley Academy when the incident occurred.
The lawsuit alleges that as part of standard practice, the coach and
assistant coach practiced various drills for students including throwing
soft pitches with a special "training" ball that was lightweight and
soft. The balls would be randomly thrown at players' hips in order to
teach them muscle memory to avoid potential injuries in an actual game.
According to the lawsuit, real baseballs were never used in the drill.
The lawsuit alleges that Super approached a player and asked how he had
received a specific bruise on his back. The player advised that he had
received it by being hit with an actual baseball during a scrimmage
game. Super allegedly took pictures of the player's back without
permission from his parents and used them when she submitted a letter to
the Hardin Valley administration.
The letter, obtained by Local 8 News, alleges "a continuing pattern of
abusive behavior within the HVA Baseball program," saying the coaches
had "intentionally put a child in harm's way" and had inflicted abuse
that was apparently emotional and physical.
This story originally appeared on Knox station WVLT back in March that
an investigation was launched into the incident Super had reported.
However, on March 28, a representative from Knox County Schools said the
DCS investigation resulted in no findings. The coaches were reinstated
to their positions after they had been suspended.
In March, an anonymous player reached out to Local 8 News, saying, "The
balls were fake and squishy and not thrown hard. It wasn't bad at all."
The lawsuit alleges that Super's comments to the school's
administration, as well as to the Knox County Sheriff's Department,
resulted in both plaintiffs being "subjected to needless humiliation and
In the lawsuit filed August 2, Michalski and Luther filed claims against
Super for defamation; false light; outrageous conduct; intentional
interference with economic advantage; compensatory damages and punitive
The lawsuit asked that both plaintiffs be awarded not more than $3
million each, with no more than $1 million in compensatory damages, and
no more than $2 million in punitive damages.
As of Friday, no additional hearings or proceedings had been set in the