By Kirk Bohls | Thursday, January 19, 2012, 03:34 PM
Article courtesy of statesman.com
Washington State head football coach MIke Leach has retained Steve Heninger of Birmingham, Ala., as his lead attorney in his high-profile case against ESPN, former college football analyst Craig James and Texas Tech University after Leach was fired from the Lubbock school in 2009.
The move comes on the heels of previous lead attorney Paul Dobrowski’s withdrawal from the legal team, which now includes Heninger of Heninger, Garrison, Davis, LLC.
“I think it’s a phenomenal case against James and ESPN,” Heninger told the American-Statesman on Thursday afternoon. “I think it’s very close to being a case where a judge would grant a summary judgment in favor of Leach.”
Heninger, who represented and won a settlement for former Alabama head coach Mike Price in a case against Time Inc. over a Sports Illustrated article recounting a night of drinking at a topless bar in Florida in 2003, said he was “not much involved in the Texas Tech case because that hay’s already in the barn,” referring to the legal briefs that both the school and Leach’s Lubbock legal team led by Ted Liggitt were to provide to the Texas Supreme Court.
The state’s highest court will rule on the briefs and decide whether to stay with the decision by the Seventh Court of Appeals, which threw out a state district court’s initial ruling to allow Leach to sue the university.
Leach on his own wrote a letter to Texas Tech’s Board of Regents and other school officials on Nov. 28, offering a willingness to settle his case for what he was owed in 2009. Leach was fired on Dec. 30, 2009, two days before a bonus was to kick in, and the coach is asking for 2009 pay including all guaranteed income, a 10-year bonus and any incentive bonuses. The American-Statesman obtained a copy of the letter this week.
Liggett told the Statesman this week that Leach’s attorneys have asked to meet with school officials, but have been rebuffed.
“They said they’re not interested,” Liggett said. “I consider that the height of arrogance that they claim our case has no merit in law. They won’t even sit down and talk to us.”
Liggett declined to reveal the amount of a proposed settlement that Leach would accept but added, “It’s obvious we’re not asking for multi-millions of dollars. When they say they think we don’t have a case, that’s an outrage. We have a case.”