Her business was run off campus for her views. Now she's taking legal action.
Pro law enforcement owner of Big City Coffee Sarah Fendley says student protesters caused her to prematurely close a location on campus.
Fendley blames the university and wants $10 million in damages.
BSU declines to comment on "potential or pending litigation."
Boise State University (BSU) in Idaho has ninety days to respond to a $10 million tort complaint filed by the owner of Big City Coffee & Cafe, according to a local report.
Targeted by students protesting her pro-law-enforcement views, Big City Coffee & Cafe owner Sarah Fendley prematurely closed a location at the university last October, less than two months after it opened in September.
Now, Fendley is accusing university officials of always knowing her politics imperiled the contract its foodservice partner, Aramark, negotiated with Big City Coffee & Cafe, and concealing information that would have caused her to end their business relationship before she invested $150,000 in a venture that was doomed to fail. Her complaint demands $10 million in compensation for lost income, character defamation, and “emotional damages suffered due to being wrongfully and maliciously labeled as a racist and a white supremacist.”
BSU officials discussed “the potential for controversy as early as July 27,” the complaint said, “Had BSU not concealed this critical information, Fendley...[sic] may have elected not to open the second location, not borrowed over one hundred thousand dollars (during a global pandemic), not purchased equipment, or had the opportunity to take other measures to mitigate the damage she and (Big City Coffee) would ultimately suffer.”
Taking aim at “diversity and inclusion” initiatives sponsored by the university, the complaint also denounced BSU officials for following an “extreme social justice agenda” under the administration of BSU President Marlene Tromp, creating, it said, a “deep-seated institutional and individual bias” that made it impossible for Big City Coffee to operate at the university.
Fendley’s tort complaint against Boise State University is a notice demanding compensation for alleged damages. Tort claims can be a first step to litigating a claim in civil court, where Boise State University will defend itself against Fendley’s allegations if its lawyers do not respond to her notice in ninety days.
Her case can also be settled by the university within that time frame, resolving a dispute that could be litigated for years and cost thousands of dollars in legal fees. But that is rare, Idaho-based attorney Kurt Holzer told Campus Reform on Tuesday. Fendley may have to take her claim to civil court, setting her up for a fight against an in-house legal team backed by the power of the state government of Idaho and the university’s $500 million budget.
Boise State University officials have declined to comment on “potential or pending litigation.”
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