Lakeridge grad settles lawsuit against coach, district
Marqueese Royster, who claimed he was punched during football practice in 2013, had sought $500,000 in damages
The Lake Oswego School District and a former coach have settled a lawsuit for a fraction of the $500,000 sought by a former student who claimed he was assaulted during football practice at Lakeridge High School more than two years ago.
Student athlete Marqueese Royster had alleged in legal documents that volunteer assistant coach Michael James Cole punched him during training on Aug. 20, 2013.
While not admitting any liability, and in consideration of the costs to continue to litigate this matter, the district's insurance carrier provided $30,000 in funds to settle this lawsuit, Brett Mersereau, an attorney representing the school district, told The Review on Thursday. No district funds were paid as a result of this settlement, and the settlement did not include any non-monetary component. The settlement is final and no appeal is possible.
Kevin C. Brague, Roysters attorney, said his client is "pleased with the resolution of the lawsuit" and has no further comment.
Brague added that, There was no judgment by a court this matter was settled voluntarily by the parties, so there is no appeal or decision by a judge.
According to court documents, Royster who later signed a letter of intent to play football for the Portland State University Vikings engaged in an on-field scuffle with another Pacer team member before the altercation with Cole.
As the scuffle de-escalated and players separated, another player and Coach (Terry) Moore grabbed Marqueese and pulled him away from the other players. At this point in time, Marqueese watched Michael Cole running hard toward him from across the field, and when he was within reach of Marqueese, clenched his fist and punched Marqueese in the face, the lawsuit claimed.
Moore released Royster, who then knocked away Coles arms as he reached for him, court documents say, and Cole moved to strike Royster again before another coach tackled him. Royster was treated later at a Legacy Meridian Park medical facility for a split lip and bruised face.
Cole was booked into Clackamas County Jail in Oregon City on suspicion of fourth-degree assault and second-degree disorderly conduct. He was released Aug. 21, 2013 after paying 10 percent of an $11,000 bail.
Cole was dismissed from the team following his arrest and sentenced on Feb. 21, 2014 to three days in jail, two years of formal probation and 100 hours of community service, said Scott Healy, a senior deputy district attorney for Clackamas County. Cole also was ordered to complete anger management counseling at the direction of his probation officer, not to coach during the period of his probation and not to set foot on the Lakeridge High School campus.
Royster filed the $500,000 lawsuit against Cole and the Lake Oswego School District in Multnomah County Circuit Court in June 2014 the same month he graduated from Lakeridge High School. He was a PSU student from summer 2014 through spring term 2015, according to a spokeswoman for Portland State, but sat out the 2014 football season as a redshirt defensive lineman. He transferred to College of the Siskiyous in Weed, Calif., last year.