Former North Dakota Olympic Hopeful Awarded Over $600,000 in Lawsuit
Former Olympic hopeful Dagny Knutson was awarded $617,810 in a lawsuit where she claimed fraud against a former attorney.
Knuston was born in North Carolina but her hometown is Minot.
Back in 2010 when Knuston, a national champion and high school record holder, was coming out of high school and had committed to go to school at Auburn University.
At the time, Mark Schubert, then the coach of the USA Olympic swim team showed up unannounced at one of her high school swim meets in Ohio.
Schubert approached Knutson and told her that the assistant coach at Auburn would be leaving the program and then Schubert informed Knuston of a plan he had to have her become the first high school swimmer to turn pro.
Shortly thereafter, coach Schubert flew to Minot to convince Knutson's parents to follow through with this plan.
Schubert had promised Knutson that if she gave up her scholarship to Auburn, she would be provided with an Olympic coach and an Olympic training facility where she could prepare for the 2012 and 2016 Olympic games.
Knutson arrived in Southern California to attend Fullerton Community College and begin preparing for the Olympic Games.
Not longer after, Knutson learned that coach Schubert was going to be terminated from his position. Additionally, USA Swimming stop fulfilling their contractual obligations and Knutson lost her swim coach.
Knutson's attorney at the time, Richard Foster was put into position to re-negotiate the contract that was no longer being fulfilled.
Knutson believed that her attorney had her best interest in hand but it turned out that was not the case.
The re-negotiated contract forced Knutson to attain very tough goals such as consistently maintaining a Top 3 status in USA Swimming or a Top 25 world ranking in order to continue receiving the contractual benefits.
The original contract Knutson had prior to it being re-negotiated did not require such high standards.
In court, testimony revealed that the attorney, Richard Foster, had collaborated with the head of USA swimming, Chuck Wieglus by entering into secret deals and and confidential correspondence.
The jury concluded that Foster forced Knutson to agree to the re-negotiated contract by not informing her about key details and also said that Foster had conflicts of interest regarding deals he had in place with USA swimming.
Knutson was awarded $217,800 to make up for the loss of housing and education benefits along with $250,000 for past pain and suffering and $150,000 for future pain and suffering.