A Baylor student named Jasmin Hernandez, who was raped by Baylor football player Tevin Elliot in 2014, is suing the university for its mishandling of her case. Former head coach Art Briles was named as a co-defendant, which was filed before he was fired, and now he’s attempting to block settlement of the lawsuit while perhaps building his own case for a wrongful termination suit.
Today, an attorney representing Briles filed a motion in the Hernandez suit, seeking to prevent Baylor’s attorneys from continuing to represent him in the lawsuit. According to the motion, Briles is upset that Baylor’s attorneys have continued to speak on his behalf even after his dismissal, and specifically takes issue with their insistence on settling the case. Briles, it seems, has no intention of settling:
Further, without being provided current information and without having anopportunity to consider this information, Mr. Briles does not wish to settle the Hernandez civil rights litigation and does not consent to any settlement in that case or in any other case in which is is jointly named as a defendant and currently outstanding or filed in the future.
There’s something else at play in this motion, though, because it certainly looks like Briles is gearing up for his own legal battle against the university. The motion includes a letter from Briles’s new attorney to Baylor’s lawyers, in which the school is accused of turning Briles into a fall guy:
The conclusion is inescapable that the motive of Baylor University and the Board of Regents was to use its Head Football Coach and the Baylor Athletic Department as a camouflage to disguise and distract from its own institutional failure to comply with Title IX and other federal civil rights laws. It is equally clear from the actions of Baylor University and the Board of Regents, both in the media and in its oral and written communications with Coach Briles since his wrongful termination, that they have ignored and repeatedly violated the clear duties that they owe under Texas law and by contract to Art Briles. Baylor University and the Board of Regents have refused to provide Coach Art Briles with any information or grounds which they used to support the termination of his employment. Anything that Baylor University or the Board of Regents have discovered or learned pertaining to Coach Art Briles is privileged and confidential and must be turned over to me immediately.
That last bit about privileged and confidential information that Briles wants turned over to him opens up the possibility for a wrongful termination suit. Briles is trying to get his hands on the evidence—text messages, interviews, e-mails, etc.—that the law firm Pepper Hamilton compiled while conducting its investigation into Baylor’s mishandling of sexual assault cases. Why would he want all of those documents? Maybe because he’s looking for something that will exculpate him, lay all the blame on the Board of Regents, and/or confirm that he was in fact just a patsy.
Here is a relevant excerpt from Hernandez’s lawsuit:
Mother also called Briles to inform him about what Elliott, one of Briles’ football players had done. Mother received a return phone call from Briles’ secretary informing Mother that her office had heard of the allegations and were looking into it.
Hernandez’s father also called Briles’ office several times to follow up. Hernandez’s father never received a return phone call from Briles or anyone in his office.
You can read Briles’s entire motion, and the letter from his new attorney, below.