RF v. Bielema dispute

As usual, Wally rambled about things he knows little about this morning regarding the dispute between CBB & the Razorback Foundation. However, he did report one tidbit I was unaware of: That the RF not only believes it owes CBB any more money, it also believes he owes them what they’ve already paid him.

I have no opinion on the merits of the claims by either side, but if CBB has made no real efforts to seek comparable employment, he has a real problem. It’s unlikely he’s obligated to find a job within a few months, but if his efforts have been half-hearted or essentially non-existent, I like the RF’s chances here.

(The aspects of the column dealing with the size of the lawfirm representing Bielema v. the size of the one representing the RF are total non-sense. Both firms have perfectly adequate resources to fully develop the facts & legal arguments. In fact, firms the fraction of the size of either have adequate resources to fully develop this case. Both clients have plenty of money to pay for those resources. If anything, the RF is the “Goliath” here.)

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I like the venue for the legal proceedings should it get to that point.

No question I’d rather have a Washington Co jury decide it than one somewhere else. Not saying a jury wouldn’t be fair to both parties, but CBB isn’t likely to generate a whole lot of sympathy. I could see a jury deciding he gets a pass for the first year or so, but not for anything past that. If I were CBB or his lawyer, I’d be doing my best to work out some sort of compromise. If I were the RF, I think I’d be willing to forego what I’ve paid him to go away unless the evidence is incredibly strong he hasn’t done crap to look for another job.

Bet it gets settled out of court.


Bet it does, too.

Richard, I agree. I bet this doesn’t drag on very long!

You’re hearing the UA side. I’m sure Bret and the Patriots have a different view of things.

You can’t trust them cheatin Patriots!

They know how to win.

They know how to cheat. Is Hugh Freeze on their payroll?

I’m not hearing anyone’s side of it. I know the RF alleges he made no attempt to mitigate. BB says he did. That’s pretty straightforward. What I don’t know and what I thought I made clear is that I have no opinions on the merits because I haven’t seen any evidence either way. Whatever evidence there is will be developed through discovery.

Totally agree on the silly David and Goliath stuff. This is not that complex to begin with. One lawyer on each side could handle it. RF has more money to pay lawyers than Bielema, too. And if it is determined Bielema breached the contract, not only will he have to pay back the $4.2MM, he will also probably have to pay the RF’s attorney fees. The opposite is true too. Prevailing party ordinarily gets attorney fees in contract cases. Yet another reason why it’ll probably settle.

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I’m not a lawyer, nor have I played one on TV, but I do see a middle ground that could be the basis of a settlement. Bielema keeps the money he’s already been paid, the RF doesn’t have to pay him anymore, everything is dropped and nobody talks. Chip, that sound plausible to you?

I’m not a lawyer either, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express a couple of years ago. I think a settlement will happen too. I’m not sure how hard BB looked for a job, but it appears that he’s not being paid the fair market value for an assistant coach in the NFL. It seems like we (RF) are subsidizing an assistant coach to work for the Patriots. I’m wondering if anyone wants this case to be some sort of precedent for these crappy buyouts.

Not only plausible, but quite likely. However, I have no idea about the strength of the evidence either side might present.

One minor disagreement. It’s possible he didn’t breach the contract initially. if he made a diligent effort for 2-3 months, for example, a jury could find the RF owed him for those months. Otherwise, I think you’re correct on all points.

Yeah, if he’s being paid well below what others in his position in the NFL are paid, then it looks like a sham. I don’t think an Arkansas jury will like the idea the NE Pats are supplementing what they should with money from the RF. In fact, it’d probably piss them off. Get ‘em mad & all of a sudden the question of whether he’s breached the contract gets a lot easier to decide against him.

Just because a party breaches a section of a contract doesn’t mean cumulative provisions of the contract no longer hold up. This is the RF’s claim, and this is a procedural move to try to prevent them from paying The full amount. If they save a million or two then they can use that for the soon to be Chad Morris fall out (whether this year or the next).

Nevertheless, this is a high risk move on the part of the RF. For if they lose, their costs increase considerably. Not only do their costs increase from this, the reputation of dealing with future agents, who represent said coaches, will be vastly changed forevermore.

To claim that a person never pursued a job is ludicrous. This would mean that any opening must be pursued without any consideration to desire of said job, location, family, future opportunities of such a job. To act as if pursuing a career with an NFL team is not potentially advantageous move, and that a coach at this juncture couldn’t become a higher earnings coach once a level is reached is weak.

Even if the Patriots paid him $2 million (which wouldn’t happen, nor be in line for) the RF would be offsetting their payment based on the contract value less his new pay. So Brett still makes the same amount no matter where it comes from. Being that Brett’s contract is public record the Patriots have salary negotiation options and can use that leverage against Brett (want to work for us and get your name out there then this is your pay).

This is exactly what the University is Alabama (CNS) does when he hires ever terminated coach onto his staff as an assistant.

I hope the RF can save some money, but the cost to them will hamper their future results and expectations. This probably will be settled and much sooner than we know; expect gag clauses to prevent the details from coming out, and expect that RF will save face by announcing how great their actions were and what they saved in the process.

(Piano music playing in the background)

“Exit stage left”

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I agree that the RF’s claim that it wants its money back is in all probability more posturing than a line drawn in the sand. The RF needs a deal on this, not two or three years of litigation, which is exactly what they are likely to get if they really push to get paid back. The idea that the RF can grind BB into submission on this case by making him spend money on lawyers is probably wishful thinking. The interesting thing will be whether there is an early mediation scheduled by agreement or the parties, and if that mediation happens if the parties make a serious effort to resolve the case then.

I disagree with every aspect of your post. Regardless of whether something may seem “ludicrous,” the contract says what it says. If Bielema has an obligation to do X in order for the RF to keep performing by paying, then he needs to do X. If you’re Bielema, don’t sign the deal if you don’t like it. Contracts mean what they say. Or, in certain circumstances they mean what a jury says they mean if the terms are first ruled ambiguous by the judge. I doubt there is any ambiguity here, but don’t know and don’t want to assume. You should not assume too much either.

And let’s not also assume that this will settle. Yeah, most cases settle. But the RF may have a lot going for it here, including that the case would be tried in Washington County. Bielema is no longer all that welcome in North Arkansas. Your jury is North Arkansas. Or, less likely, the RF could have a summary judgment case if there is little dispute about what Bielema didn’t do in terms of reporting, and other mitigation requirements. As another poster said, it’s really hard to assume and speculate without first knowing what the contract says and knowing all the facts in light of that.

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