The University of San Francisco and the Athletics Department are still in the throes of the Marta Galic et al vs. Molly Goodenbour et al case. Former USF Women’s Basketball players Marta and her twin sister, Marija Galic, initially filed a lawsuit against women’s basketball coach Molly Goodenbour and the University of San Francisco in June of 2021 due to what they alleged in the lawsuit as Goodenbour’s “archaic and abusive conduct.”
For the past three years, the University, the Galic twins and Goodenbour have been in a legal standoff. In November of last year, the San Francisco Superior Court entered their final judgment on the lawsuit, reflecting that Marija Galic won her claims — totalling $250,000 — while Marta Galic lost.
A hearing will take place on Feb. 2 in which both USF and the Galic twins will petition for funds reflecting the costs from the trial.
This hearing comes at the same time as Marija Galic undergoes a related petition through the appellate court to reinstate the original punitive damages awarded on July 20, 2023. The original $750,000, awarded by a jury at the San Francisco County Superior Court, was reduced on Sep. 21, 2023 after USF’s motion to vacate the $500,000 in punitive damages was granted.
On Nov. 20, the Galics’ legal council, Randolph Gaw, appealed USF’s motion to vacate. The Foghorn spoke with Gaw to investigate the current state of the motion to appeal.
“Following the trial, the University was able to get the punitive damages portion of the verdict vacated,” Gaw said. “They haven’t challenged …the compensatory damages and liability.”
The Foghorn requested an interview with the University of San Francisco’s outside legal counsel, Micheal and Ross Vartain, and a direct comment from Coach Molly Goodenbour.
When contacted, USF’s spokesperson Kellie Samson offered the following statement in lieu of a direct interview. “The University of San Francisco is pleased the Superior Court of San Francisco ruled in favor of USF,” she stated. “We are also pleased that the Court denied the plaintiff’s motion for a new trial. As we await the final judgement by the court, USF remains committed to supporting Coach Goodenbour and the women’s basketball team.”
In the Foghorn’s conversation with Gaw, he recounted key moments from the trial process. “I was very touched by how [Marija Galic] was brave and willing to share the darkest memories of her life,” he said.
Gaw noted that during pre-trial preparations, there were incidents that were too painful for Marija Galic to recount. “There were experiences that she related to the jury that all of us heard for the first time,” Gaw said. “She dug in and brought it out, and re-lived some of those moments, which was very painful for her to go through again.”
The allegations of abuse cannot be confirmed or denied by the Foghorn. The jury sided with Galic following her testimony.
“To hear from a disinterested jury, people who have no stake whatsoever, who their job is to find the truth, and they found in her favor that she was right, that the University and Ms. Goodenbour had done inappropriate things to her, unlawful things,” Gaw said.
“I handle business disputes so I’ve won verdicts of multi-million dollars,” Gaw said. “That is completely different, as rewarding as that is and arguably, in the legal world, that’d be considered more important, than a $750,000 jury verdict. But, this was rewarding in a way that none of those can ever match.”
For further information, refer to the Foghorn’s May 2022 in depth coverage of the lawsuit filing. The court documents are available for access on the online edition of this article. The Foghorn will continue to report on breaking developments as this case continues.
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