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The Saga of Mike Leach :: Bonus Payments, Feelings and Boiling It Down

Some Bonus Payments:  FWST's Dwain Price writes that Texas Tech provided documents that showed they sent to former Texas Tech head coach a bonus payment on February 11, 2010 in the amount of $103,516.12 and another official response:

"Mike Leach has been paid what he is owed by Texas Tech," Tech officials wrote in an e-mail response Tuesday. "His mistreatment of an injured student-athlete was a breach of his contract and ultimately resulted in Mike Leach's termination. When he breached his contract, he no longer was entitled to further compensation."

LAJ's Matthew McGowan apparently held court with Leach's attorneys yesterday and they are of course claiming that, "the price of poker just went up," on Tuesday due to 99th District Court Judge Jim Sowder's ruling on the sovereign immunity issue.  Leach's attorneys are claiming that they owe him $12 million and, of course, Texas Tech is claiming that they do not owe him another dime.

How Mediation Works:  (ASIDE:  I'm going to talk about my feelings and stuff and get some things off my chest.  If my rambling thoughts make you crazy, then my feelings won't be hurt if you don't keep reading.)  I tossed and turned last night with so many thoughts running through my head.  I have some football links that I promise to post tomorrow, but for this morning, this is what you get.

I'm not at liberty to discuss the details, but I was in mediation all day last Friday and by the time we left the office (I didn't get to pop the top on my first beer until 7:00 on a holiday weekend, that's serious dedication), we got the case mediated.  A couple of commentors yesterday noted that when people leave a mediation, both parties should leave relatively unhappy, that the point of mediation is that you meet in the middle and each party feels like they gave up too much.  That's how my client felt on Friday and in talking with opposing counsel, that's how his client felt. 

The funny thing about this case is that when the whole ordeal started, we tried to meet and settle this on our own, but didn't get very far.  More attorney fees and court costs and other things eventually led to the mediation and as I so eloquently opened up the mediation, that the only people getting rich off of this case were the attorneys.  The more each party wanted to argue, the more money that would go into the pockets of the attorneys.

This case, although it has much more complicated issues that are clearly over my head, still boils down to the scenario I just painted.  I know it's real easy for both parties to dig their heels in and say that they're not going to give in one cent, but it's getting ridiculous, for both sides. 

Follow me after the jump for more of my early morning ramblings.

One.  Just One.  Dangerous Cause of Action:  I mentioned this yesterday, but I guarantee you that the one cause of action that Texas Tech could least afford to lose was the sovereign immunity defense.  I would bet that the Texas Tech attorneys are shatting their pants right now with the prospect of really having to try this case, but on the flip side, Leach's attorneys should be feeling some heat as well with the fact that they got the cause of action they wanted, but they basically get one bite at the apple.  Quite simply, both parties have some leverage and both parties are up against it as well.

As I thought about and read some of the comments on the LAJ, I wondered if those commentors (assuming they know about DTN) are saying the same thing about the comments here.  I think that DTN community believes that Leach was wronged, in some form or fashion, but I wondered if that was accurate.  

Wrongly Terminated:  My personal stance is that I do believe that Leach was wrongly terminated.  That there is a certain procedure and decorum that should have taken place that didn't.  The termination itself was haphazard and sloppy.  Because it was handled poorly, I do believe that Leach is due a certain amount of money.  However, I also believe in the legal process and ultimately, what I want out of this deal, is for justice to prevail.  If a jury of Leach's peers feels that he mistreated a player and due to that mistreatment is not deserving of any sort of compensation, then so be it.  If a jury feels that Leach did not mistreat a player and deserves to be awarded quite a bit of compensation, then so be it.  This community and your local watering hole can argue about what should or shouldn't happen to Leach, but ultimately, it's going to be up to 12 individuals (and a few judges) that will eventually wield quite a bit of power as to how all of this plays out. 

Wandering Eye:  And to be fair to those who believe that the administration was right in terminating Leach due to his conduct, I think the hurt feelings, at least from the administrative standpoint has always been if Leach loved Texas Tech so much, then why was his name coming up for any and every job opportunity.  You can probably go back into the archives and find plenty of examples of me defending Leach and his wandering eye, essentially stating that it was all conjecture and busy-body reporters creating news.  In retrospect, I think that Leach did have a wandering eye.  Don't get me wrong, I think he loved Texas Tech, on some level, and perhaps it was a ploy to just get Texas Tech to pay him the money he thought he deserved, but if I were to tell my wife, that my constant flirtations with other women were an attempt to make my wife love me more, I'm pretty sure that I would be shown the door fairly quickly. 

Just off the top of my head, I can think of a handful of jobs that Leach's name were associated with, and I'm sure that there are more:  Miami, Auburn, UCLA, and Washington (I'm sure that forgetting this early in the morning).  The converse to this was that Leach was permitted to look around.  No buyout provision that would have kept Leach around was apparently the big stumbling block when Leach renegotiated his contract with Chancellor Kent Hance, that was eventually not in his current contract.  As we all know you just can't tame wild horses. 

I can certainly understand those in the administration, who probably thought to themselves: "Why would you leave this program?  You've come so far and taken the program to heights it has never seen.  Why would you even look at any other program?" 

I don't know if Leach's termination was the culmination of years of Leach continuing to look elsewhere and like a jilted lover, the administration lashed out by terminating Leach rather than thoughtfully considering the options and following procedure.

Boiling this Down:  This whole thing essentially breaks down to a couple of things:  Leach looked around and the administration didn't like it; the administration did an awful job handling Leach's termination; and Leach's lawsuit is dangerous enough to be problematic for both parties.

The one thing about mediation is that it's all confidential.  Any offers that are made and the batting around of this or that are not admissible in court.  And I think it's high time that Judge Sowder pull both parties into his chambers and let them each know that no one, and I mean no one, wins (except for the attorneys) if they don't settle this.  Now that additional information has come out due to discovery, things might be a little different.  From what I recall, Judge Sowder ordered mediation before a majority of the discovery was completed.  Perhaps it would be best that now that there's a bit more out there, a second round of mediation would be beneficial for all of the parties involved.

I'm ready for this thing to be done.  Quite honestly, I'm tired of writing about it.  Just like this morning, I spent a hour typing up this little diddy and I have some football links and thoughts that would have been more fun to discuss.  One of the reasons I started blogging was because I really needed an escape.  I love Texas Tech and I love sports.  I don't love courtrooms and thinking about law all of the time.  There's a reason why I run a Texas Tech blog and I don't run an exciting blog about estate planning and probate issues.