LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Mike Leach's lawsuit against Texas Tech heads back inside a Lubbock courtroom first thing Friday morning with one basic question at stake: Can the judge even hear this kind of lawsuit against the university?
Last week Judge Bill Sowder denied the former football coach's motion for a delay.
Friday morning, Texas Tech Lawyers argued that the case can't be heard in court because TTU is a part of the state, and therefore has sovereign immunity. They claim precedence shows the state is immune unless the legislature allows an exception.
Mike Leach's lawyers argued that TTU gave up their right to sovereign immunity when they entered into the written contract with Leach. They also pointed to sections in TTU's Operations Policy that set out procedures for filing a grievance that allude to possible law suits being filed.
Leach's lawyers also claim TTU Regents and administrators conspired to fire Leach, but TTU says they did not and that Leach forced them to fire him for insubordination.
The judge will also hear several motions to dismiss the case, and finally the judge will hear Leach's motion to punish Texas Tech's lawyers.
Leach was fired in late December after allegations he mistreated injured player Adam James.
Adam's father, sportscaster Craig James, is named as a defendant in this case but will not be at the hearing. Scott McLaughlin, an attorney representing the James family, will be in from Houston to observe the hearing.
Thursday, McLaughlin filed Craig James's response to Leach's lawsuit.
The first order of business in the legal response is to admit that fired Texas Tech Coach Mike Leach made history, but to the James' way of thinking - Leach made history in a bad way. He became the first college coach to banish a player to a small dark room for having a concussion.
"Mike Leach is the person who is responsible for his situation today. Not Texas Tech. Not Craig James," McLaughlin said.
Leach has denied any wrongdoing, but the James family says Leach should admit what they say he did was wrong. "Mike Leach was obviously a good football coach at Texas Tech University, maybe even a great football coach, and frankly it's hard not to respect the win/loss record and the graduation rates. We're not here to throw stones at Mike Leach overall, but we are here and certainly Craig's position is that what Mike Leach did to Adam James on Dec. 17th and 19th was dangerous. (There's) obviously expert testimony on the record saying the same thing."
McLaughlin also argues that the Leach's lawsuit should be dismissed for other reasons. One of them the first amendment. He says Craig had the right to free speech and to say what he wanted when talking to Texas Tech administrators.
Leach will not be in court for the hearing. KCBD NewsChannel 11 will be there and we'll bring you the latest developments as they become available.
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