CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A federal appeals court has rejected a lawsuit filed by two former West Virginia University business school leaders who were at the center of a scandal to award a master's degree to the daughter of Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.On Friday, a three-judge panel from the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a federal judge's decision to dismiss a lawsuit filed by former Dean R. Stephen Sears and Associate Dean Cyril M. Logar.Sears and Logar alleged that they were coerced into retroactively awarding an executive master of business administration degree to Manchin's daughter, Heather Bresch.Administrators at the university reportedly awarded Bresch the degree after adding courses and grades to her transcript. She is an executive at the pharmaceutical company Mylan Inc.
An independent investigation into the university found that Sears, Logar and former Provost Gerald Lang "showed seriously flawed judgment," according to previous reports from The Associated Press.Sears and Logar also claimed that the university secretly negotiated a settlement to the academic misconduct charges levied against it to diminish their liability in the federal lawsuit.Last fall, U.S. District Judge Frederick P. Stamp Jr., dismissed the suit because it was not filed within two years of the scandal. The federal appeals court sided with Stamp.