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Court bars U of M from reaching out to potential victims of sports doctor

University of Michigan near Rackham and Michigan League
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
Students walk on the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus (file photo)

A federal judge ordered the University of Michigan on Wednesday to immediately stop communicating with alumni who could be potential plaintiffs in class action litigation against the school.

The order came after Judge Victoria Roberts learned that in April, U of M had contacted more than 300,000 former students in connection with its investigation into allegations of sexual misconduct and sexual abuse by the late Dr. Robert Anderson. 

U of M encouraged the alumni to share relevant information with WilmerHale, the outside law firm it had hired to lead the investigation into claims that Dr. Anderson had molested students and student athletes over decades of employment at U of M. 

Judge Roberts is overseeing scores of lawsuits from alleged victims of Dr. Anderson.

Judge Roberts wrote in her order that because of the ongoing investigation by WilmerHale, "the Court feels the need to gather information about its purpose and how it might impact information gathering and resolution of plaintiffs' claims."

Judge Roberts also ordered University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel to participate in the next status conference on the Anderson cases which she intends to hold within the next two weeks.

University of Michigan spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the university has confidence in the independence of WilmerHale's investigation and he will defer any further comment until after U of M has had a chance to review the order carefully.  

Editor's note: The University of Michigan holds Michigan Radio's license.

Virginia Gordan has been a part-time reporter at Michigan Radio since fall 2013. She has a general beat covering news topics from across the state.
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