Former Ole Miss coach Houston Nutt’s lawsuit vs. the school will now proceed in state court.
A U.S. District Judge granted Ole Miss’ motion to dismiss the suit on jurisdictional grounds Wednesday. Nutt had filed suit vs. the school, its athletic foundation and the board of trustees alleging a breach of contract and defamation against the school in July.
Nutt’s attorney Tom Mars said in a statement Wednesday afternoon that the suit will be refiled in state court with more details. Mars has been asking for a settlement with the school, but as you can see, one has not been reached yet.
All the lawyers in this case know we could have easily avoided this jurisdictional defense and stayed in federal court by just suing the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation and dropping Ole Miss and the Board from the lawsuit. However, we wanted to make sure that Ross Bjork and the university had a chance to fully participate in this lawsuit.
Between Bubba Morrison saying I’d read too many John Grisham novels and the University’s recent decision to fire Hugh Freeze, I concurred with Bubba’s suggestion that we just oblige Ole Miss, ask the court to grant their jurisdictional motion and file an updated state court lawsuit next week with more details than those that were known to us when we first filed suit.
We’d both like to congratulate the Ole Miss lawyers and hope they’ll give some more thought to our settlement proposal before we refile in state court next week.
Nutt reportedly asked for a $500,000 settlement and a public apology from the school, but Ole Miss rejected that proposal. The former coach has alleged the school waged a disinformation campaign against him, attempting to pin many of the NCAA violations cited against the football program as a product of his tenure.
While Nutt’s suit hasn’t reached a judicial resolution, it led to the departure of Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze at the end of July. Research on Freeze’s phone records found the coach had dialed a number connected to an escort service in 2016. Freeze contended to Yahoo Sports that it was a misdial.
After that allegation, Freeze subsequently resigned from his post after the school said it found a prior “pattern of conduct.” Ole Miss named offensive line coach Matt Luke as Freeze’s interim replacement.
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