Patterico's Pontifications

6/1/2010

Judge Allows Leach’s Contract Claim Against Texas Tech

Filed under: Law,Sports — DRJ @ 7:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

A Lubbock district court judge threw out several tort and other claims filed by former Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach, but allowed his breach of contract claim to continue against Texas Tech University:

“Former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach can move forward with a lawsuit claiming breach of contract over his firing, which followed allegations of player mistreatment, a judge ruled Tuesday.

State District Judge William C. Sowder struck down Texas Tech’s claim of sovereign immunity from the breach of conduct claim. But Sowder upheld the university’s sovereign immunity against the lawsuit’s other claims, which included libel, slander and violation of Texas’ Whistleblower Act.

The university fired Leach on Dec. 30, two days after suspending him amid allegations he mistreated a player with a concussion. Leach has denied mistreating Adam James and suspects an $800,000 bonus he was to have received Dec. 31 was the reason he was fired.”

The Lubbock Avalanche-Journal reports the Judge also threw out claims against individual Tech administrators but has yet to rule on claims against the chair and vice chair of the Board of Regents, or on Leach’s claim against Adam James’ father Craig.

– DRJ

8 Responses to “Judge Allows Leach’s Contract Claim Against Texas Tech”

  1. All I can say as a Texican is “Texas Football: If it’s not exciting on the field, it is exciting in the courtroom.” :)

    GM Roper (6afe02)

  2. If those guys didn’t want them they shouldn’t have resigned him. Hope the transcript of the depos gets out and that James boy is ruined for life.

    bradnsa (24ba37)

  3. Mike Leach was an odd duck but I liked him anyway. He got a little too big for his britches and T-Tech jumped on an opportunity to sack him. He ought to be able to find a job.

    Arizona Bob (e8af2b)

  4. Looking forward to discovery

    great unknown (261470)

  5. I still like Mike Leach. He is mad scientist krazy smart and the Red Raiders are going to miss him.

    JD (9d8cb8)

  6. JD, I guess Tech didn’t enjoy being in the big time.

    BradnSA (980254)

  7. I find it bizarre that Texas’ Whistleblower Act doesn’t apply to agencies of Texas.

    aphrael (e0cdc9)

  8. I haven’t read the recent motions and pleadings, but I am not surprised by this ruling. It’s consistent with the growing resistance of Texas courts to the “tortification” of contract claims. But it also reflects Texas state-court trial judges’ traditional (and very conventional) reluctance to intrude on the proper province of juries in resolving factual disputes through pretrial motions.

    The Texas Whistleblower Act, codified at Texas Gov’t Code ยงยง 554.001 et seq., provides in pertinent part: “A state or local governmental entity may not suspend or terminate the employment of, or take other adverse personnel action against, a public employee who in good faith reports a violation of law by the employing governmental entity or another public employee to an appropriate law enforcement authority.”

    Leach was terminated, but it’s not clear to me just what factual basis there may have been, if any, for him to have claimed he was terminated for “report[ing] a violation of law … to an appropriate law enforcement authority.”

    The statute also requires private-party plaintiffs like Leach to exhaust administrative remedies (i.e., give state agencies a chance to correct themselves through internal channels before suing); I don’t know if he tried to jump through those hoops or not.

    Beldar (6fa4ca)


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