Long-Running Defamation Lawsuit By Coach Finally Settled

STILLWATER, Minn. (AP) — A Twin Cities area woman has agreed to settle a defamation lawsuit filed by her daughter's basketball coach in a long-running case revived by the Minnesota Supreme Court.

Julie Bowlin, 55, of Chanhassen, has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by Nathan McGuire and has signed documents admitting she made numerous false accusations which led to his dismissal as Woodbury High School girls basketball coach in 2014.

The case was settled Monday, the day it was scheduled for trial.

“It feels good to close this chapter,” McGuire, 47, said at the Washington County Courthouse in Stillwater. “Hopefully, some of what we’ve done here will create some safeguards for other coaches because it went to the Supreme Court.”

The settlement comes three years after the state Supreme Court revived the lawsuit, finding for the first time that a parent’s criticism of a high school coach is not protected by the First Amendment because a coach is not a public figure, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported.

According to the settlement, Bowlin became angry when McGuire had Bowlin's freshman daughter scrimmaging with junior varsity players.

Bowlin accused McGuire of “bullying, pushing, manipulation, harassment, aggression and other forms of maltreatment” against numerous players, according to a signed letter.

Bowlin admitted in the letter that “all of these allegations were false,” and both the district and state investigations cleared McGuire of any wrongdoing.