Friday, July 28, 2017

Ole Miss goes for the TKO against Nutt

No one ever said fighting Ole Miss would be easy for Houston Nutt.  Ole Miss and IHL filed a motion to dismiss the former head football coach's lawsuit against the university yesterday in U.S. District Court.  Mr. Nutt sued them on July 12 for breach of contract that occurred when Coach Hugh Freeze and Athletic Director Ross Bjork defamed him in conversations with the media.


Mr. Nutt accused Ole Miss of violating the terms of the contract requiring Ole Miss to deal with him in good faith when he left the employment of the school.  His colorful complaint stated former Coach Hugh Freeze and Athletic Director Ross Bjork smeared him to the media when  Ole Miss began to experience NCAA problems.

Coach Freeze allegedly spoke to journalists off the record who in turn reported the information he gave them through various outlets such as news reports and social media.  The reporters included those who worked for the AP and other national media outlets.  The complaint claims Mr. Bjork participated in this media manipulation as well.  Mr. Nutt called the resulting media coverage that placed most of the blame for the NCAA allegations on him a  "Category 5 media storm."

The defendants argue the court lacks jurisdiction over the matter.  Mr. Nutt is not alleging a violation of federal law.  He states in his complaint that the court has jurisdiction because he is suing for more than $75,000 (the threshold for federal lawsuits) and the parties are citizens of different states.  The thrust of Ole Miss's argument is:

3. In the teeth of well‐established controlling law, Plaintiff Nutt improperly alleges the University and the IHL Board are citizens of the State of Mississippi for purposes of diversity jurisdiction. Instead, they are arms of the State, and, as such, are not citizens of any state for diversity of citizenship purposes. This controversy between Plaintiff and Defendants is therefore not a controversy between citizens of different States.

4. It has long been the law that complete diversity of citizenship must exist between all plaintiffs and all defendants for diversity jurisdiction to exist under Section 1332(a)(1). Because the University and the IHL Board are not citizens of the State of Mississippi or any state, complete diversity of citizenship does not exist. Consequently, this Court must dismiss this action due to the lack of subject matter jurisdiction.
5.  Further, Plaintiff Nutt’s claims against the University and the IHL Board are barred by the Eleventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Therefore, the Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the claims against the University and the IHL Board.

Attorneys J. Cal Mayo, Jr.  and Paul Stephenson, III (Watkins & Eager) represents Ole Miss and IHL.  The Ole Miss Athletic Foundation joined the motion as well. The Brunini law firm represents the Foundation.  The case is assigned to U.S. District Judge Neal Biggers.  Arkansas attorney Thomas Mars and Ridgeland Attorney Walter Morrison represent Mr. Nutt.



26 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is going to turn into a Nutt Measuring contest of epic proportions.

Anonymous said...

So if the defendants win on the motion, does Nutt simply file in state court and proceed. Obviously Nutt would rather be in federal court, but the motions currently pending don't address the merits of the claim. Does this just delay the suit by pushing it into state court, as opposed to derailing it completely.

Anonymous said...

Confession is good for the soul. Its time to let the adults into the room and put the children to bed.

Anonymous said...

There is clearly no jurisdiction for this matter in federal court. I've been wondering how long it would take for this very motion to be filed. This is Federal Jurisdiction 101.

Anonymous said...

The one group of people benefitting from all of this are lawyers.

Anonymous said...

Not a TKO, KF. More like a stoppage to check one of the fighters' mouthpiece and protective gear. Since it's mostly claims based on breach of contract, not sure why the defendants aren't happy to be in fed court. Whatever.

Anonymous said...

If anyone on the IHL was serving in an oversight or legal capacity during these allegations against the university, and is also an alumni of Ole Miss, it should negate the IHL's motion based on conflicts of interest alone, not to mention WHAT jurisdiction does the federal court even have? Even incoming Northern District Attorney Chad Lamar should recuse himself as an alumni. Perhaps Mike Hurst would be better suited to root out the truth if it becomes a federal case, which it shouldn't. The incestuous nature of the Mississippi judicial system and it's relationship with the university alumni is well known. Corrupt to the bone, with a long history of protecting the plantation in Oxford, truth or wrongdoing be damned.

Anonymous said...

With their interests, and the possibility of more to come, these lawyers are more than likely working pro-BONE-o.

Anonymous said...

Aren't attorney's required (pro bono or not) to report criminal dishonesty? Why isn't anyone holding any of these Ole Miss alumni/attorney's feet to the fire? Especially the one's sitting on the IHL!

Anonymous said...

9:32 there are multiple layers of ignorance in your post. Chad Lamar is the incoming United States Attorney. The Federal system does not utilize "district attorneys". Nutt filed a civil lawsuit which does not entail criminal charges, which are pursued by the U.S. Attorney. Mr. Lamar will have no participation in this crap shoot.

btw KF, you don't have to sue for $75k in cases arising under federal law... the $75k relates to diversity jurisdiction.

Anonymous said...

Unfathomable what is being gained beyond delay, including the FOIA redacting. Looking like Lee's same missteps at Gettysburg.

Anonymous said...

Hey Davenport, time for a RIF. Gravy bowl done gone dry.

Debogarsky said...

Dan Wolken

@DanWolken
NEWS: Tom Mars now pursuing records related to a burner phone in Yuma, AZ that appears multiple times in Hugh Freeze's records, he tells me.

Anonymous said...

I recall a George Costanza quote from Seinfeld......."This thing is like an onion: The more layers you peel, the more it stinks!". I can think of nothing more appropriate to describe the total shit show that OM has become.

Anonymous said...

Ole Miss just doesn't get it. They should have fired Freeze, but they wanted to keeping fighting for him. They should have apologized to Nutt but they wanted to keeping fighting. Now they want to continue the fight in court with Nutt. Nutt is going to release more damning information the longer this keeps going. Ole Miss doesn't understand the strategy of retreat and regroup. This will end badly for Ole Miss. The Unv. President is a classic example of, "he doesn't know what he doesn't know."

Anonymous said...

Not sure the 11th Amendment applies to a breach of contract claim. Also not sure how the Foundation could seek dismissal based on the arguments made by the government defendants unless it's actually considered a political subdivision; I thought the Foundation was a private entity.

Anonymous said...

Clarification of ignorance is always welcome. But the premise still remains: The Feds need to get involved in scraping the excrement off of the boot of Oxford. What on earth do rebel fans have to be proud of??? Their "club" is simply disgraceful.

Anonymous said...

So with all the bad ole miss stuff. Does this mean lower middle class people can afford to attend games now?

Anonymous said...

Nutt doesn't have to prove the trio kept him from getting a job. Only that they broke the contract. The severance agreement is a contract and it was broken by the triumvirate of Vitter, Freeze and Bjork. Slam dunk. Nutt doesn't want the money. He wants egg all over the faces of these bastards. Thus the reason for the dark spots on the fronts of the pants of all the OM law-boys.

Anonymous said...

When you drain a pond of any size you usually find a couple of fish far larger than you had ever seen in that pond before or expected.

Anonymous said...

If Nutt was smart, he'd wipe his tears, back off and lay low. Plenty to come out on him during his time at Ole Miss and Arkansas.

Anonymous said...

So if the state is not a "citizen," I don't see how there is a lack of complete diversity of citizenship. To lack complete diversity, a defendant would need to be a citizen of the same state as the plaintiff. I haven't read the cases in footnote 12, but the motion suggests that because the state (and, thus, UM and IHL) lacks citizenship, there can't be diversity. For diversity to be lacking, it would seem that states would need to be deemed citizens of every state. That's clearly not what is being claimed. If UM and IHL are out, that would leave Nutt and the UM Foundation as the only citizens, and there would be complete diversity of citizenship, right?

Anonymous said...

If the federal court dismisses it for lack of federal jurisdiction, Nutt can simply re-file the case in state court....and in Hinds County which is where the IHL is located. Does Ole Miss (with its history of "whiteness" and racism) really want to face a Hinds County jury ?

I realize that Ole Miss has to "try" to defend itself, but since they've already fired Freeze, wouldn't it make sense to just say yes, Freeze defamed/disparaged Nutt, apologize, and try to reach a small, quick settlement ? The longer this suit drags out, the worse it gets for Ole Miss, just like the NCAA allegations have.

Anonymous said...

2:12 - But, it's not quite that simple. Freeze is not alone in 'defaming' Nutt. Look back over many of the Bjork interviews.

Anonymous said...

Advice to IHL: Fire Bjork and Vitter and settle with Nutt. If you don't he may just file suit against IHL and board members and get your phone records, emails, etc. just to see if any of you have been colluding against him.

Anonymous said...

The strength in numbers approach. Oh boy.

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