June 17, 2024
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Court rejects CLU motion to dismiss Gallegly lawsuit

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A Ventura County Superior Court judge on May 24 denied a motion by California Lutheran University to throw out a breach of contract lawsuit filed against it by former Congressman Elton Gallegly.

“Defendants’ motion for summary judgment is denied,” Judge Henry Walsh wrote in a seven-page ruling.

The case can now proceed to trial, scheduled for July 15.

Gallegly, a Simi Valley Republican who served in Congress from 1987 through 2013, sued the Thousand Oaks-based university, President Lori Varlotta and former President Chris Kimball in Nov. 2021 for breach of contract.

The suit alleged that Cal Lutheran had failed to fully establish the Elton and Janice Gallegly Center for Public Service and Civic Engagement on the university’s campus.

In early 2022, the university removed a replica of Gallegly’s Washington, D.C. office, which had been the centerpiece of the center located in the school’s Pearson Library.

The lawsuit in part seeks a court order directing Cal Lutheran and Varlotta to account for all funds donated to the center.

The university’s Board of Regents announced May 21 that Varlotta would be stepping down as president effective May 31.

The announcement came four months after the university’s faculty, on a 122-3 vote, passed a no-confidence resolution in Varlotta.

John Nunes, most recently pastor at Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Santa Monica, will succeed her as interim president for a two-year term beginning June 1.