According to an article in the Iowa City Press-Citizen:
For nearly two years, Perkins’ lawsuit was entangled in a dispute over whether [Cynthia] Joyce, the university’s ombudsman, could be forced to testify. Joyce’s office seeks to informally mediate conflicts and concerns brought by students and employees.
Conlin, Perkins’ attorney, sought to depose Joyce to investigate how she responded to Perkins’ complaints and what she discussed with Perkins’ superiors.(Press-Citizen.)
The Iowa Attorney General’s Office, which defended the university, refused to produce Joyce for a deposition, asserting the ombudsman’s office has a duty to keep its communications confidential to encourage people to file complaints. The office promises “strict confidentiality” and says it will only reveal information if there is a risk of physical harm or a court order requiring disclosure.
Conlin argued that no such privilege exists for the ombudsman under Iowa law or court precedent, and sought to compel the testimony. The settlement was reached before a hearing on the dispute that was to take place last week.
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