Court dismisses bowler’s lawsuit against ILH

U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright dismissed a lawsuit filed against the ILH by Anastasia Saili, right, and her family. Saili, now a senior at Sacred Hearts, is shown with University's Nicholas Lacaden after they won the 2014 ILH girls and boys individual bowling titles. Krystle Marcellus / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright dismissed a lawsuit filed against the ILH by Anastasia Saili, right, and her family. Saili, now a senior at Sacred Hearts, is shown with University’s Nicholas Lacaden after they won the 2014 ILH girls and boys individual bowling titles. Krystle Marcellus / Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

A lawsuit filed by the family of bowler Anastasia Saili against the Interscholastic League of Honolulu has been dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge J. Michael Seabright.

Saili, a senior at Sacred Hearts, unsuccessfully tried to regain her eligibility for the bowling season last fall. The suit also asked for punitive damages of “not less than five million dollars” from the ILH. Don Botelho, the league’s former executive director, and Georges Gilbert, his assistant, were named as defendants.

Saili, who won the ILH championship as a junior at Punahou, was deemed ineligible by the league due to a transfer rule. Saili’s family was trying to prove that she switched schools not for competitive reasons (which is the main reason the rule banning athletes moving from one school to another exists), but for academic reasons.

“Saili and her parents dismissed the suit with prejudice and released all claims she and they had or may have had against the ILH,” Jeffrey Harris, the lawyer representing the league, wrote Monday in a text to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser and Hawaii Prep World. “(The) ILH agreed to withdraw its motion for sanctions against Saili for filing a frivolous lawsuit and confirmed that it did not admit it did anything wrong to her or them.”

According to the Saili family at the time of the filing of the suit in late September, Anastasia wanted to defend her ILH bowling title but could not because she was dismissed from Punahou for failing one class and chose to enter another school (Sacred Hearts) that competes in the same league as Punahou. The suit also claimed that Anastasia was being denied her rights under the First (freedom of speech) and Fourteenth (equal protection) Amendments.

Barry Sooalo, the Saili family’s lawyer, did not rule out other legal avenues.

“We needed more time to evaluate other claims available to (the clients) and how best to proceed with all their claims,” he texted Monday.

The suit was originally filed in the state’s First Circuit Court before it moved to federal court.

COMMENTS

  1. EwaEwa January 4, 2016 1:15 pm

    Bowling? ….we talking Bowling?

    ….BOWLING?

    we……cmon……bowling?

    …BOWLING?


  2. Nick Abramo January 4, 2016 2:15 pm

    well, there is a bowling tab on the Hawaii Prep World home page, so yes, we are


  3. be thankful January 4, 2016 6:47 pm

    I understand she wanted to get back her eligibility, but the nerve to ask for $5M. Lawyers are skunks and the parents went along with it. As if the ILH has $5M to burn. It would be at the expense of other students and programs. So sad, too bad, move on.


  4. James January 5, 2016 6:38 am

    No one gets dismissed after failing just ONE class. Her GPA had to have been below 1.7 for at least two consecutive quarters. Failing one class would not do that unless the rest of her grades were no better than D’s and some C’s. It seems they’re not telling the whole story.


  5. Nick Abramo January 5, 2016 12:46 pm

    Good point James. When the story originally ran in the newspaper in September, it was noted that Punahou declined to comment (of course, due to privacy) on the issue. So you are correct, the girl failing one class and getting dismissed is the family’s account and may not be the whole story.


  6. Nick Abramo January 5, 2016 12:54 pm

    Right, DSinTheSun: when asked why he was seeking no less than $5 million, the lawyer said it is standard practice to ask for that much (or something like that). I do not understand that at all. It is my personal opinion (and obviously an opinion does little against an ILH rule and the iron fist of the law) that an exception should have been made and the ILH champion bowler should have been allowed to bowl. It was not her choice to “transfer.” I am in the minority here. Most people I talk to say that a rule is a rule and that she has no ground to stand on because she was dismissed for poor academic performance. I say, “LET THE BOWLERS BOWL.”


  7. hwnstyll January 5, 2016 1:44 pm

    I agree that she should have been allowed to bowl because there is no assumed gain from leaving one school to another. However if she won this lawsuit it could open the door for other students to get dismissed from their current school in order to aovid the transfer rule.
    Personally the transfer rule is a bad rule and only hurts the student athletes. Why do coaches have different rules?


  8. Pacheco January 5, 2016 1:45 pm

    Couldn’t she have continued bowling at an OIA school instead of transferring to another ILH one? The transfer rules are very clear.


  9. Gail S January 5, 2016 2:38 pm

    If she is struggling in school, shouldn’t concentrating on academics be more of a priority than playing sports? How was she allowed to compete while at PUN if she was on the verge of being expelled due to academics? And because of one class? Sure doesn’t sound like the whole story.


  10. Education First January 5, 2016 3:18 pm

    Many schools push sports over academics. I can think of one private school, with atrocious test scores, that seem to value a touchdown over an A or a decent SBAC score.


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