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Lawsuit filed by former assistant of Rich Rod against UArizona dismissed

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Rich Rod

TUCSON (KVOA) - The federal lawsuit filed against the University of Arizona by a former assistant of Rich Rodriguez during his tenure as Arizona's head football coach was dismissed earlier this month.

Back on July 24, 2019, Melissa Melendez filed a lawsuit against Rodriguez and the university over accusations of "due process violations; employment discrimination and retaliation; sexual harassment, assault and battery; and intentional infliction of emotional distress" during her time working as an assistant for the former UArizona coach from 2011 to 2017.

According to court documents Melendez was initially hired as an assistant to the director of football operations in 2007 after serving UArizona's athletics department as an accounting associate.

During that time, Melendez served under head football coach Mike Hoops until he was fired and replaced by Rodriguez following the 2011 season. 

The lawsuit alleged that Melendez and other football operation personnel "were forced to lie to Rodriguez's wife to help cover up his indiscretions - primarily his extramarital affair." In addition, the lawsuit made other claims such as Rodriguez failing to intervene when "football players sent Ms. Melendez screenshots of their genitalia and illicit overtures via text" and alleged incidents of Melendez being sexually harrassed by the former Arizona coach.

The lawsuit also said after Melendez left the university for another job in 2017, she felt "her good name was now defamed throughout the university."

Rodriguez was fired from the coaching position on Jan. 2, 2018 after Melendez filed the $7.5 million Notice of Claim. While he denied the allegations made in the lawsuit, Rodriguez did acknowledge that he had an extramarital affair with a woman not affiliated with UArizona.

Four months after filing her lawsuit, Melendez decided to remove Rodriguez from the federal suit and continued to pursue her case soley against the university and its governing board, the Arizona Board of Regents.

On Oct. 4, a federal judged moved to dismiss the 2019 lawsuit.

According to court documents obtained by News 4 Tucson on Friday, the dismissal will require both parties to cover their own costs and attorneys' fees accumulated in the case.

In addition, Melendez and UArizona agreed in the suit dismissal that Melendez cannot refile the claim in court.

Rodriguez is currently serving as the associate head coach and offensive coordinator at the University of Louisiana at Monroe. He has served in that position since Jan. 18.

Have a news tip or would like to report a typo? Email Anthony Victor Reyes at areyes@kvoa.com.

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