Texas high court denies appeal in Mike Leach firing lawsuit

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LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — The Texas Supreme Court has denied former Texas Tech football coach Mike Leach's appeal in a lawsuit over his firing.

Texas Tech dismissed Leach in 2009 amid accusations he mistreated a player suffering a concussion. That player was the son of Craig James, a former SMU star and ex-broadcaster with ESPN.

Leach sued James, ESPN and public relations firm Spaeth Communications, alleging libel and slander. A Texas judge in 2013 granted summary judgment in favor of James, ESPN and Spaeth. A case against Texas Tech previously was dismissed.

In November, the 7th Texas Court of Appeals upheld the lower court ruling, and the Supreme Court's denial, issued May 1, upholds those decisions.

"We knew the odds are against us," Leach's attorney, Michael Hurst, told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal Friday (http://bit.ly/1Rok6i7 ). "But it was certainly worth it for Mr. Leach to take a shot given what the defendants did. The message here is that they can seemingly do what they want to do with impunity."

He said he'll meet with Leach, now football coach at Washington State, to discuss any possible new legal responses.

"We're incredibly disappointed for Coach Leach," he said. "It's certainly an injustice."

Leach's suit contended the influence of James, ESPN and Spaeth, a public relations firms hired by James, fueled allegations of player abuse and led to his firing.

An investigation by the school determined Leach acted improperly when James' son, Adam, was banished to a closet. Leach contended Adam James' presence on the practice field was a distraction he wanted removed. According to court documents, Tech officials fired Leach after he went to the media about the dispute.


Information from: Lubbock Avalanche-Journal, http://www.lubbockonline.com

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