Tom Murphy is a reporter for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A graduate of Louisiana Tech University, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America, and voter for the Heisman Trophy and AP Top 25 football poll. Murphy was the 2017 Arkansas Sportswriter of the Year.
Bielema lawyers ask for sanctions
Bret Bielema is shown in this file photo. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
FAYETTEVILLE — Attorneys representing former Arkansas coach Bret Bielema filed a motion in federal court Tuesday asking for sanctions against counsel for the Razorback Foundation.
The motion, filed in the Western District of Arkansas, argues the Razorback Foundation’s counterclaims in a lawsuit filed against Bielema and his agent Neil Cornrich are “false and injurious allegations of a conspiracy to defraud.”
The foundation claimed Bielema was in breach of the terms of his final release agreement in a letter dated Jan. 31, 2019. The letter outlined why the foundation felt Bielema had breached the agreement and demanded more than $4.2 million in damages for the buyout money that had been paid to Bielema to that point as part of the $11.935 million final release agreement reached between the parties.
Bielema led Arkansas to a 29-34 record between 2013-17 and was fired minutes after walking off the field at Reynolds Razorback Stadium after a 48-45 loss to Missouri on Nov. 24, 2017.
Attorneys for Bielema filed a lawsuit demanding $7.025 million in compensatory damages, as well as punitive damages and a jury trial in June. Federal Judge P.K. Holmes III has assigned a start to the jury trial of early next June.
In the motion filed Tuesday, lead Bielema attorney Tom Mars asked for “Rule 11” sanctions to be applied by the court to counsel for the foundation for failing to comply with tenets of the Federal Rule of Civil Procedure in connection to part of the foundation’s counterclaim.
Mars asked the court to “exercise its discretion to impose appropriate sanctions on opposing counsel,” and to provide the counter-defendants with other appropriate relief.
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