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MU wants mental exam of former track coach suing it

A 2019 picture of Carjay Lyles at Mississippi State University
Mississippi State University
A 2019 picture of Carjay Lyles at Mississippi State University

The University of Missouri wants a court-ordered mental examination of a former track coach suing the team.

The school filed two motions this week for a mental exam of Carjay Lyles and to compel Lyles to provide medical and employment records. The university argued that Lyles had “placed his emotional condition at issue” in the case, and waived any claim at privilege in the case.

Lyles sued the university in 2018 for racial discrimination. The lawsuit accused MU track coach Brett Halter of referring to black athletes and employees as “you people,” and making other racist remarks. Lyles was “constructively discharged” in 2017, according to the lawsuit, following several years of complaints to school officials about Halter.

University attorney Colly Durley claims the emotional distress Lyles described in depositions goes beyond the “garden variety” distress people would ordinarily experience under the circumstances. Missouri case law says that people who file employment discrimination lawsuits don’t put their condition in controversy, but Durley said Lyles’ condition “goes beyond what is ordinary.” Lyles said he’s had near daily panic attacks at the different jobs he’s held since leaving MU.

“In order to understand and fully appreciate the bases for his numerous claims, defendants are entitled to a professional examination of [Lyles] to get an understanding of the nature, extent, and causes of his emotional impairment,” Durley wrote.

Lyles’ attorney, Brittany Mehl, told Durley in a Sept. 9 email that Lyles would not agree to a mental examination because he was only claiming “garden variety” distress. Mehl would also not agree to waiving his “fundamental privacy interest in his medical history or his physician-patient privilege.”


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