Federal lawsuit filed in Goose Creek case; To be heard in Charleston
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCIV) - A federal lawsuit was filed against the South Carolina High School League Wednesday morning to place a temporary restraining order on Friday night's game between Bluffton and Northwestern.
The emergency injunction was filed under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which protects participation of disabled people under the age of 22 in activities.
The filing made a special notation that proper legal representation was not present on behalf of the student and the school at the first SCHSL hearing in which the team was disqualified from playoffs.
"The issue at bar is unfortunately a public conundrum. However, it appears to be solvable with an equitable and logical analysis of facts in relation to Section 504. Plaintiff believes that objective policies enforcing guidelines created by Defendant relating to eligibility of student athlete participation have unfortunately evolved in a manner that disregards a practical subjective view to student-athletes with disabilities," the lawsuit reads.
The lawsuit states that the student, who has been identified as John Doe through the duration of the hearings, is disabled and protected under the Rehabilitation Act; that he is "otherwise qualified" in high school sports; that he was excluded from participation based only on the reason of his disability; and that the SCHSL receives federal assistance.
The filing also identified John Doe for the first time since the case started as Justice Roemello Rogers.
The case is being argued for the plaintiff by Jason T. Moss and J. Steven Huggins of Moss and Associates.
The proceeding is slated to be heard at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the Charleston district by Judge Charles Weston Houck, but that may be delayed while court officials gather the vested parties.
As news spread of the federal case filing, members of the Goose Creek High School football team have taken to Twitter to comment on the case.
"People still fighting for us, (Goose Creek) has so much support. That's what happens when you do things the right way," tweeted Rico Blanding, a senior fullback.
Houck is the same judge who forced The Citadel to take Shannon Faulkner as a new cadet in the 1990s.
Federal court prohibits the use of electronic devices in its courtrooms. ABCNews4 requested special access to get an iPad into the courtroom for Wednesday's hearing. That request was denied.
The hearing, however, is open to the public. It will be held at the Charleston Federal Courthouse at 85 Broad St. in downtown Charleston. The case is being heard in Courtroom 4.
Wednesday will mark the second appearance in court for representatives of the Goose Creek football team. Attorneys and administrators successfully convinced a judge last Friday to issue a temporary restraining order and allow the team to play until the SCHSL could go back and re-examine the case.
In both hearings before the SCHSL, the school's appeals to have the disqualifications overturned were denied in lop-sided votes. On Monday, the SCHSL committee hearing the case ruled 12-2 against the school.
School officials said Tuesday they had exhausted all options to move forward with the case and were stopping their efforts.
Stay with ABCNews4 for more on this developing story.