Contractual Issues

Mike Leach Not Done Suing

The following article was written by Cyle Kiger.

Current head coach of Washington State, Mike Leach, was fired from Texas Tech on December 30, 2009 for allegedly mistreating Adam Jones.  The allegations from 2009 were that Leach locked Jones in an electrical garage.  The claim was proved untrue when Jones admitted that allegation was false.  Currently, Leach is attempting to settle with Texas Tech for breach of contract; Leach has also filed suits against ESPN and Craig James, Adam Jones’ father and former ESPN analyst, for defaming his name.  The latter two cases are on hold for now.

Leach offered to settle with Texas Tech, but Tech rejected the settlement.  Leach told Texas Tech officials, “(I’m) willing to settle this case for simply what I was owed under the contract for working in 2009, which I completed except one day.  Even though I worked up to December 30,2009, I never received my 2009 pay for guaranteed income, my 10 year bonus or incentive bonuses (which included games won, ranking, and reaching a bowl among other things).”

Leach’s contract had a 10-day cure provision, which Leach claims he did not receive.  Had he received the notice, he would have been employed by Texas Tech through January 9, 2010.  Leach just wants to get paid for what the contract says he should be paid for working through January 9.  Leach is seeking $12 million for breach of contract.

According to Texas Tech’s attorney Dicky Grigg, the board members unanimously rejected Leach’s settlement offer.   The university believes that it paid Leach every penny that it owed him, and that he was terminated for the mistreating of Adam Jones.

The defamation of Leach’s character is at the center of his suit against ESPN.  He accused ESPN and a public relations firm of libel and slander.   Leach made his claim of libel and slander because ESPN implied some of the information that Craig James gave ESPN to be factual.  Leach wants his name cleared and for ESPN to “retract false and damaging statements.”   Leach’s current attorney on the case, Steve Heninger, thinks he has a good case against ESPN, one where a judge would grant a summary judgment in favor of Leach. The suit against James and ESPN are on hold while Leach and Texas Tech attempt to settle.