Judge Tosses Maine West Hazing Civil Lawsuit

Plaintiff's allowed opportunity to file amended lawsuit

A judge dismissed a civil lawsuit Tuesday that implicated Maine West High School in a series of hazing incidents on its sports teams, but the case is far from over.

Four student athletes were seeking monetary damages for the alleged incidents that occurred while members of the soccer and baseball teams.

According to Maine Township High School District 207 officials, a Cook County Circuit Court judge dismissed the lawsuit based on the "plaintiffs’ failure to allege facts sufficient to permit the lawsuit to go forward."

The plaintiffs have until November 19 to file an amended lawsuit.

District superintendent Dr. Ken Wallace said he was "pleased with the ruling" and referred to the allegations as "exaggerated claims asserted by Plaintiff’s attorney in the media."

The team’s coach, Michael Divincenzo, was charged in May with three counts of battery and four counts of failure to report abuse as mandated, all class A misdemeanors. Prosecutors say several players were attacked by older members of the team, including forcibly removing their shorts or pants and poking them in the buttocks with their hands and other objects.

Lead plaintiff attorney Antonio Romanucci described Tuesday's decision as "a technical ruling, as opposed to a substantive one," and plans to proceed with the amended lawsuit.

District say they will continue to "strongly contest any amended lawsuit as well as the second lawsuit."

The criminal case against Divincenzo was not affected by Tuesday's decision.

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