Saturday, August 20, 2011

Former Ole Miss coach serves notice of claim

    A former Ole Miss football staff member, David Saunders, has given the university notice that he plans to sue. Such notice is required under the Tort Claims Act for suits against a government entity.
    The Clarion-Ledger has a copy of the notice.
    Much of Saunders' suit is plain breach of contract. He was promised a job by Houston Nutt which fell through because Pete Boone didn't like him. The next year he was again offered a job, this time with a firm commitment, but this offer also evaporated. After the second job offer he claims he turned down several job offers and was later forced to accept $12 an hour from the university instead of the promised $120,000 per year. If true, these facts certainly could form the basis of a civil breach of contract claim although there are to my mind some unanswered questions.
    Saunders claims the reason he was disliked and denied the job by Pete Boone was because he wanted to recruit and work with players with severe learning disabilities. He claims Boone wanted to avoid recruiting these players in order to protect the academic integrity of the university. Saunders seems to claim that Boone's actions were a violation of the Rehabilitation Act and Americans with Disabilities Act.
    To which I say, the law wasn't designed to protect or benefit Saunders; it was designed to protect the disabled. A cripple person can sue to have an elevator put in a public building, for example, but this doesn't give the elevator company standing to sue. If Saunders wants to claim Pete Boone was unlawfully discriminating, then the victims of that discrimination need to step forward, not Saunders. Saunders, their champion, is not entitled to the damages suffered by someone else.
    The are lots of smart students with learning disabilities, but I can't help but wonder whether Saunders recognizes that some students just have a low IQ and don't suffer from a learning disability at all; they just aren't very smart.
    Make no mistake, if Saunders was the victim of a breached contract and suffered damages as a result, I wish him well. But the claim that he is somehow entitled to recover under the Americans with Disabilities Act makes me question the validity of his claim. It will be interesting to watch, I suppose.

No comments: