Leach attorneys react to appeals court ruling - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Leach attorneys react to appeals court ruling

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Posted By James Clark - email

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - Attorney's for fired Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach issued a statement about the appeal court striking down a portion of Leach's wrongful termination lawsuit against the university. 

Related Story: Appeals court rules against Leach in his lawsuit

STATEMENT BY ATTORNEYS FOR MIKE LEACH, FORMER HEAD COACH OF TEXAS TECH FOOTBALL TEAM, REGARDING RECENT APPELLATE COURT RULING

We appreciate and are gratified by the appellate court's ruling permitting Mike Leach to pursue his claims for declaratory relief against Texas Tech that:  (a) Mike's constitutional rights were violated; and (b) Mike was improperly dismissed by Texas Tech University.  This ruling is very important because it permits Mike to pursue his request that a court declare Texas Tech's dismissal of him was improper and allows Mike to clear his name.  However, we are disappointed by the appellate court's ruling that Mike cannot pursue his claims for breach of contract and monetary damages based on Texas Tech's waiver of sovereign immunity by conduct. 

As the appellate court stated in its opinion, it was forced to rely on the archaic doctrine of sovereign immunity in denying Mike's right to pursue monetary damages for breach of contract.  The vast majority of states, besides Texas, have withdrawn the doctrine of sovereign immunity because it is inherently unfair to contracting parties and today we see why.  Indeed, we agree with the court of appeals' observation in footnote 4 of their opinion, that art. 1, § 2 of the Texas Constitution is diminished by this purely judicial creation.  Sovereign immunity contradicts and violates the principle that "all political power is inherent in the people."

The doctrine permits a Texas state institution to deny a person's written contractual rights and steal his hard-earned labor while paying nothing.  In essence, this is nothing more than university-sanctioned theft of a person's labors and contractual rights.  That is not fair and not the principles upon which Texas or its citizens stand.  We are certain the people of Texas and its Legislature are disturbed that Texas Tech can sign a legally binding contract for services with Mike Leach, accept the benefits of Mike's performance under the contract, but deny Mike his right to enforce and obtain monetary damages for Texas Tech's breach of the contract simply because Tech is a state institution.

In its opinion, the appellate court also noted that the Texas Supreme Court case law is unclear regarding waiver of sovereign immunity for breach of contract through conduct.  Specifically, the appellate court noted that Texas case law on waiver by sovereign immunity is contradictory and requested that the Texas Supreme Court clarify it.  We intend to ask the Texas Supreme Court to clarify the law on this issue, hope they will accept our appeal and decide in Mike's favor so he can pursue his claim for monetary damages due to Texas Tech's breach of contract.

Paul Dobrowski,  L.L.P.

Ted Liggett,  Liggett Law Group,  P.C.

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