Key issues being decided in Leach vs. Tech hearing - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

5/14/10

Key issues being decided in Leach vs. Tech hearing

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LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - It's been almost five months since Texas Tech fired head football coach Mike Leach, but the two sides are still battling it out in the court room. Friday they had a hearing for the judge to rule on three main points.

The first, and perhaps most talked about issue in this case, is the question of Sovereign Immunity.  Texas Tech says Leach can not sue them because the University is a part of the state. Leach's side said they gave up that right when they entered the written contract with Leach. "All he would really be doing is holding Tech to the letter of what it agreed to with Mike and with the language in its policies," said Leach's lead trial attorney Paul Debrowski. 

Judge William Sowder must also decide if Leach can sue six individuals listed in the suit. Tech claims he can not because according to a Texas tort claim act a plaintiff has to decide whether to sue an entity, like Texas Tech, or go after the individuals. Tech says Leach made that choice when he filed the original suit against the school. Leach's lawyers claim Tech's attorneys are trying to apply the tort claim act too broadly.

On Friday, the judge did not rule on the sovereign immunity issue or whether or not Leach can sue the individuals. "He's going to rule as quickly as he can, but he's got another big case and volumes of material for him to consider," said TTU Attorney Dicky Grigg. 

The third ruling the judge had to make was if he would allow evidence recently presented into the case. He did rule Texas Tech could include the testimony of a doctor who claims Leach treated Adam James poorly when he had a concussion. "Dr. Cantu is one of the world's foremost authorities on concussions and he says in his affidavit that Coach Leach's treatment of the player was inappropriate," said Grigg. 

Judge Sowder also allowed Leach's attorney's to include an e-mail from former Regent Windy Sitton which said she knew they had planned to fire Leach. Leach's attorneys asked the judge to sanction Tech's lawyers for not giving them the letter earlier. He did not sanction them, but he also did not allow Tech to include a letter statement from Sitton saying what she wrote had been hearsay, not fact. "The motion for sanction per se was denied, but we got what we wanted," said Dobrowski. 

The judge said he would rule on the questions of sovereign immunity and if Leach can sue the individuals in the case as soon as possible, but he did not put a deadline on it. KCBD NewsChannel 11will let you know his ruling as soon as we get it.

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