The U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by a coach against USA Swimming claiming the organization defamed him.
Michael Pliuskaitis, a coach member of USA Swimming, sued the organization after it put him on a “banned-for-life” list on its website. The decision was based on allegations he violated the organization’s code of conduct.
Pliuskatis subsequently appealed the decision to an arbitrator, who found the ban to be “arbitrary and capricious.” USA Swimming dropped the ban. Pliuskaitis then filed his defamation lawsuit.
The federal court dismissed his lawsuit because the Ted Stevens Olympic and Amateur Sports Act did not permit the action and his defamation claim was filed after the statute of limitations lapsed.
The 10th Circuit agreed with the lower court decision, adding that Pliuskaitis failed to cite any specific provisions USA Swimming violated. The 10th Circuit also said the arbitrator had denied his request for damages under the Sports Act.