NEW ORLEANS – A Latvian foreign exchange student and former athlete at Southern University of New Orleans is suing her coach, with whom she was allegedly involved in a love triangle that included another student.

Iluta Urka filed suit against Naomi Washington, Elston King, Southern University of New Orleans (SUNO) and the Board of Supervisors of Southern University and Agricultural and Mechanical College in the Orleans Parish Civil District Court on Nov. 10, 2014.

Urka, a foreign exchange student from Latvia, is a student-athlete on scholarship at SUNO and a former member of the volleyball team. Defendant Naomi Washington, her coach, recruited the plaintiff to play volleyball at SUNO and assured her of a full scholarship and "not to worry about anything."

She began her studies at SUNO in the fall of 2012. The plaintiff alleges that, unbeknownst to her, she was for some time romantically involved with another SUNO student at the same time as her coach. When this came out in February 2013, her coach allegedly went into a rage and began to treat the plaintiff differently. Urka allegedly went on to suffer a knee injury that required surgery in August 2013 as well as two subsequent knee surgeries in November 2013 and February 2014. SUNO's insurer is alleged to have paid for some, but not all of her claims.

The plaintiff claims negligence on the part of her coach in permitting the plaintiff to practice and compete without medical clearance, failing to use due care, and promising that the plaintiff would be taken care of. She also alleges that SUNO athletic director Elston King is responsible for damages resulting from his advising the plaintiff that SUNO would pay for her medical bills and failing to use due care.

The plaintiff seeks an unspecified amount in damages for physical pain and suffering, medical expenses, permanent disability and further rehabilitation on her knee. She also is asking SUNO to live up to its alleged promises and pay for her education through graduation, medical treatment and expenses.

The Plaintiff  is represented by Gerald J. Calogero and Remy Voisin Starns of New Orleans-based Calogero Law Firm PLLC.

This case has been assigned to Division H Judge Monique Barial.

Case no. 2014-10840.

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