Tarnished Twenty- The FindLaw Sports Law Blog

Ex-Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach's Breach of Contract Suit Thrown Out

The most significant aspect of a suit against Texas Tech by former football coach Mike Leach was dismissed by a Texas appeals court on Friday. The court ruled that the breach of contract claim could not move forward, but that Leach could still go after non-monetary claims. Leach was fired in 2009 after a controversy involving a player who was allegedly held captive in a dark storage shed.

Leach was fired on Dec. 30, 2009, after allegedly mistreating Adam James, who had a concussion. James is the son of former NFL player and current ESPN analyst Craig James. Leach contends the actual reason for his firing was to keep him from receiving an $800,000 bonus.

Texas Tech attorney Dicky Grigg didn't waste any words: "We won," Grigg said. "The court has held that he has no monetary claims against the school."

However the reason that the university won was not because of the facts of the case, but rather due to a point of law. After the trial court ruled against the school originally, the 7th Court of Appeals reversed their decision Friday, agreeing that Texas Tech's had sovereign immunity. Under the principle of sovereign immunity, a state entity like Texas Tech can only be sued by conduct-based waiver or with permission from the state Legislature.

Naturally Mike Leach's attorney already has a play drawn up for an appeal, and it may not be a Hail Mary. Paul Dobrowski, Leach's attorney says that he plans to take the case to the Texas Supreme Court. He said that even the 7th Court of Appeals admitted that the court "is unclear regarding waiver of sovereign immunity" through conduct, ESPN reports.

Related Resources: