Kansas University basketball player Sherron Collins will get a second opportunity to defend himself in a civil suit filed against him in May.
A judge Friday afternoon set aside a default judgment he had previously issued.
The issue is whether it's excusable for Collins not to have answered the suit originally. He received the summons and the petition, but he assumed his attorney at the time also had received the documents and was handling the situation. Christopher Burger, Collins' present attorney, said Collins did have an attorney at the time but he has declined to name him.
Judge Jack Murphy questioned him about the previous attorney - and Burger assured the judge of that attorney's existence.
"The affidavit that Mr. Collins presented is minimal at best," Murphy said, but the judge gave Collins the benefit of the doubt and found the neglect excusable. Murphy said everyone deserves a day in court and both sides should present their cases.
"Nothing here was ignored by Mr. Collins. There were certainly better things that could have been done," Burger said. "There was not a conscious decision to do nothing" because he thought he had a lawyer.
An attorney for Jessica Brown, the plaintiff in the civil suit, said he was not surprised with the judge's ruling, despite arguing in the hearing that Collins "has not shown that he had any good reason for just blowing off the petition."
"It was a close call," said Brown's attorney, Jim Wisler. "We're prepared to go to trial, and that's what we're getting ready for now."
Collins' attorney said he intended to file his response on Monday; he has 20 days to do so. Collins did not attend the hearing. Brown, however, did.
Brown accused Collins of exposing himself and rubbing against her despite being repeatedly told to stop on May 18, 2007, in an elevator at Jayhawker Towers, where she worked.