Coach files defamation suit against USA Gymnastics over tweet

By Bree Gonzales | Jul 17, 2018

TAMPA, Fla. (Legal Newsline) – A Florida gymnastics coach alleges an organization announced his suspension on social media when it did not have the authority to do so and caused injury.

TAMPA, Fla. (Legal Newsline) – A Florida gymnastics coach alleges an organization announced his suspension on social media when it did not have the authority to do so and caused injury.

William O. West filed a complaint on July 5 in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division against USA Gymnastics alleging defamation by implication.

According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleges that in November 2017, the United States Center for Safe Sport (SafeSport), advised him he was being investigated on charges of sexual and/or inappropriate misconduct in the coaching of a minor between 2004 and 2006.

The suit states in June 2018, the defendant published on Twitter that the plaintiff was suspended from coaching or entering any facility because of the allegations. The plaintiff alleges the defendant's published suspension was not authorized by SafeSport because the defendant lacks the power to issue a suspension.

The plaintiff also alleges that SafeSport's and law enforcement's investigation "have been in favor of his innocence," and no interim measures against him have been taken. 

The plaintiff requests a trial by jury and seeks losses and damages and all allowable taxable costs and all other equity the court deems proper. He is represented by Russell S. Prince of Palma & Prince PA in Tampa, Florida.

U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division case number 8:18-cv-01616-CEH-JSS

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Palma & Prince PA Tampa Division of the Middle District of Florida

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