Former USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny will delay giving a deposition in a sexual abuse lawsuit until after he attends social functions at the Indianapolis 500 on May 28.
Los Angeles Superior Court judge Susan Bryant-Deason ruled that Penny could put off giving the deposition because of his networking needs at the race, reports the Orange County Register.
The deposition is related to a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court against former USA Gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar, USAG and Penny, among others.
The suit claims that the ex-gymnast involved in the lawsuit, a national team member from 2006-2011, was sexually abused by Nassar and that Penny’s “actions and inactions enabled and ratified the sexual abuse.”
Penny left his post at USAG in March after the U.S. Olympic Committee called for his resignation.
Penny, who lives in Indiana, asked the Los Angeles court to dismiss the case, claiming that California does not have jurisdiction over him. Attorneys for the former gymnast, who have until June 30 to file opposition to Penny’s motion, said a May deposition was necessary to meet that June date.
Court documents obtained by PEOPLE claim that Daniel White, Penny’s attorney, wrote to Vince Finaldi, an attorney representing the former gymnast, on May 3.
“Steve Penny is no longer employed,” White wrote. “Because of his former position, he has many contacts who will be attending Race Week. He intends to participate in as many pre-race function as possible in an effort to connect with those who may be of some assistance in his re-employment efforts. I can assure you he feels the need to do this is critical to the needs of his family.”
Finaldi responded within minutes.
“I hope you can step back for a second, evaluate, and see how ludicrous your client’s position is,” wrote Finaldi. “We have motions to oppose and he can’t participate in discovery because he has parties to attend. That is just beyond the pale. Especially considering how many children were sexually abused on his watch. It just supports our position that he never really did care much about the kids. It was all about his job and the bottom line.”
In a later email Finaldi wrote: “Exactly how many parties is he going to be attending? It’s just inconceivable to me that he is unavailable at all until June 5 because of these soirees. And those events do not justify avoidance of a deposition.”
Edith R. Matthai, Penny’s other attorney, told the Orange County Register that Penny did not “put off” the deposition.
“Mr. Penny agreed to appear one of the dates suggested by plaintiff’s counsel,” Matthai told the publication. “Plaintiff’s counsel then filed a motion making defamatory statements about Mr. Penny in an attempt to have the deposition take place at an earlier date. That motion was denied by the court. Yet, the motion served the plaintiff’s counsel’s goal to obtain negative publicity about Mr. Penny and USA Gymnastics.”
Penny’s attorneys did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment and Judge Bryant-Deason has not publicly commented on her ruling.