Matt - Bielema Buyout Dispute

What’s the latest - any word? Hopefully the days of paying him are over.

There has been no change, other than UA not paying any more. No doubt, it will be litigated. But until it is, you won’t hear or see anything on it. No way either party is going to talk.

UA is gonna end up getting blown up in the media about this unless they can show ANY reason not to pay the man. Whatever side of the fence you are on about this, it’s not a good look.

I suppose they think they have every good reason not to pay him - Varady is not an idiot.

We shall see.

Why do you say that? It’s a contract, it involves stipulations and covenants, unless you know something you aren’t telling, then you, nor I, know what is involved.

Well, not saying he’s an idiot. But some have heavily criticized him and the UA/Foundation legal team for the contract language utilized here. I think that language is what caused the uncertainty and created the big-money arguments for Bielema.

There is a line in Bielema’s buyout with the foundation that reads: Bielema shall have the duty to mitigate his damages by making reasonable efforts to gain re-employment.

I think that was the sticking point when the foundation stopped its payments to him.

I do not fault the foundation, that’s for sure. I know few Arkansas fans who side with Bielema in this issue. Maybe there are some members of the media in London who have told you they see it differently.

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Most contracts have mitigation of damages provisions. It would be a question of fact for a jury (or judge sitting as a finder of fact) whether he did what the contract required. Because that kind of thing could go either way, I’d expect the parties to come to some sort of compromise.

I say all that without having read the contract at all. Still, I know enough about contracts in general to expect there are some reasons it should be compromised. One thing I’d like to know if the UA has an argument that he was terminated for cause and what “cause” might mean. We got out of paying BP because he was terminated for cause.

Prediction: the case will be settled for less than BB claims & for more than the UA would like to pay.

Agree, and probably will be a lump sum cash settlement which would make both parties happy.

The UA or foundation ought to take any fact issues about contract interpretation to trial. Legal issues too. I suspect the venue would be in Washington County, probably by contract. Let’s just see how Bielema would fare in front of an elected circuit judge or 12 fine people from Washington County that have seen the last 3.5 football seasons and the awful job Brett did those last 2 years.

That’s the biggest hammer we have right now. No way Bielema foregoes any decent settlement number in favor of an Arkansas trial.

Matt, did the contract say disputes have to be resolved in Arkansas courts? I guess there could be an arbitration clause, which would probably be better for Brett.

Civil trial like that would probably go to district court. I’m not sure if district judges are appointed or elected in Arkansas.

Right. It’s now district rather than circuit.

Swine, Why would it be in district court?

I have not read the contractual documents, but it’s fairly likely that there’s a contractual provision that sets the venue for any litigation over the contract. Some of the contractual agreements may be with the Razorback Foundation and some might be with the University. I don’t know if there are any state statutes which would impact where the University has to go to Court or not(possible it’s Pulaski County, but I really don’t know).

A jury trial is far from a sure thing. There may be contractual provisions which could impact whether there is ever a jury trial, such as a arbitration clause. There is also always a possibility in a contract dispute that the judge will decide as a matter of law that the contract has or has not been breached by a party, or that contract provisions otherwise apply to make a jury trial unnecessary.

I agree with most of what you say. However, a jury can decide what parties agreed to via parol evidence if there is an ambiguity in the terms. The judge decides if an ambiguity exists. And I recall there being some possible ambiguity. Don’t recall the details. Could be wrong of course.

I can tell you the poster on here that can absolutely answer this question: Pavlov Hog, if you’re on, you want to weigh in?

In the Arkansas state court system, District courts (they use to be called municipal courts) only handle small claims civil cases, misdemeanors and traffic cases. Everything else goes to state circuit court.

In the federal court system NW Arkansas is the Western District of Arkansas. That court would not hear a state court case.

Before we get too far into a discussion about fine points of the law(no matter how tempting-it bores most non-lawyers to death), let me just say that it appears we agree that there might be a jury trial but it’s no sure thing, A trial also will only happen after many months(probably well over a year) of pre-trial motions, and the usual discovery process which might be uncomfortable for both sides. And then after all that the vast majority of civil cases settle before trial.

I do think the Foundation/UA has some leverage here, mainly because BB is going to have trouble taking another football job that pays really good money until he gets this dispute behind him, and he also may not want his current arrangement with the Patriots to undergo too much scrutiny. On the other hand, cutting him off completely is not without risk, if BB comes up with proof he really has been looking for work.

I’m not a lawyer but I’ve observed that a lot of lawsuits and even some small felony criminal cases are placed in district court, probably to decompress circuit court. For example, my former roommate is in court Thursday for stealing my stuff while we lived together. But it’s in district court. I was supposed to come testify Thursday is how I know, but I can’t get back from NC to be there.