New court papers claim Sherron Collins should have been aware of lawsuit

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Kansas University basketball star Sherron Collins has not shown "excusable neglect" in seeking to set aside a civil lawsuit judgment against him, according to court papers filed by a woman who sued him.

In a motion filed this week in Douglas County District Court, Jessica Brown maintains that Collins, 21, showed "reckless indifference" by not responding to two letters her attorney sent to him in March about making a personal injury claim and then ignoring the filing of the lawsuit.

The civil lawsuit alleges Collins assaulted her in May 2007 in a Jayhawker Towers elevator.

The first letter was sent March 6, followed by a March 21 letter sent certified mail-return receipt requested. It was returned to Brown's attorney, Jim Whisler, marked unclaimed.

Brown's motion also states a court-appointed process server certified that she personally delivered a summons pertaining to the lawsuit to Collins on May 14 at his residence in Jayhawker Towers.

Brown's court filing calls "absurd" Collins' claims that he thought a previous attorney who represented him was handling the letters and legal petition for him. Collins did not give the name of the lawyer, nor did he produce any evidence that shows why he thought the lawyer knew about the matter, Brown's court document states.

Last month, Judge Jack Murphy signed a "judgment by default" in favor of Brown when Collins did not respond to the lawsuit in 20 days as required by law. A hearing was set for next Tuesday to determine damages sought by Brown in excess of $75,000.

But that Tuesday hearing was continued until Aug. 1 - after Collins' attorney, Chris Burger, filed a motion to set aside the judgment. Murphy will hear oral arguments from both sides about that motion.

Collins has not been charged with a crime, but the matter is under investigation by the Kansas University Public Safety Office, which is awaiting results of the testing of materials by the Kansas Bureau of Investigation.

Collins has denied all of the allegations.