Federal cheer abuse lawsuits won’t be tried together, judges say

There are 4 cases filed in South Carolina
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 12:59 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 6, 2023 at 2:09 PM EDT
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - A panel of federal judges has ruled against consolidating 10 different lawsuits alleging abuse at cheer gyms across the country, including one in Greenville.

FOX Carolina News first began following this story in August 2022 when Scott Foster, the owner of a well-known cheer gym based in Greer, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. It was later revealed the Department of Homeland Security was investigating Foster for allegations of sexual misconduct with his athletes.

Just weeks later, former athletes began filing lawsuits against Foster and his gym, Rockstar Cheer. The lawsuits also allege Varsity Brands, the parent company for a series of businesses that run and govern the competitive cheer industry, had knowledge of misconduct but turned a blind eye.

There are currently 10 federal lawsuits filed across seven districts:

  • Central District of California
  • Northern District of Georgia
  • Eastern District of North Carolina
  • Northern District of Ohio
  • District of South Carolina
  • Western District of Tennessee
  • Middle District of Florida

Attorneys for the athletes filing lawsuits asked to centralize the litigation by moving all the cases to one district. All the athletes in these cases are represented by the Strom Law Firm.

The motion was denied on June 5. A panel of judges wrote that while there are eight common defendants in all the lawsuits, there are about 30 individual coaches, gyms and choreographers named.

“Most are named in just one action, and none are named in more than one district,” the judges wrote. “Discovery regarding each individual defendant’s conduct and their relationship to and interactions with the common defendants will not overlap. Therefore, any efficiencies to be gained by centralization may be diminished by unique factual issues.”

The District of South Carolina has four cases filed, which is more than any other.


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