Jerry Falwell Jr is suing Liberty University over public comments it made in connection with his resignation.
The former president of the prestigious evangelical school resigned under a cloud of controversy after appearing in an embarrassing photo with his pants unzipped, followed closely by a high profile sex scandal involving his wife and a former business associate.
He accuses Liberty of breach of contract, and of defamation and harming his reputation in public statements issued after he resigned.
"These statements had the effect of affirming false claims that an individual made publicly against Mr Falwell after years-long attempts at extortion against Falwell and his wife Becki," said law firm Quinn Emanuel, which is representing Mr Falwell in the case.
The complaint accuses Liberty officials of accepting "false claims" against Mr Falwell "without investigation to force his resignation," and engaging in a campaign to "tarnish, minimize, and outright destroy the legacy of the Falwell family and Mr Falwell's reputation."
Commenting on the commencement of legal proceedings, Mr Falwell said: "Other than God and my family, there is nothing in the world I love more than Liberty University.
"I am saddened that university officials, with whom I have shared so much success and enjoyed such positive relationships, jumped to conclusions about the claims made against my character, failed to properly investigate them, and then damaged my reputation following my forced resignation.
"While I have nothing but love and appreciation for the Liberty community, and I had hoped to avoid litigation, I must take the necessary steps to restore my reputation and hopefully help repair the damage to the Liberty University brand in the process."