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Appeals Court Bars|H.S. Coach’s Claim

CORPUS CHRISTI (CN) - The Texas Court of Appeals threw out a breach of contract claim filed by a Hidalgo County football coach accused of hazing, finding the coach's claim barred by sovereign immunity.

Justice Valdez found that because the coach had access to an administrative process to challenge the school district's termination of his teaching contract, his breach of contract claim is barred.

In 2005, a criminal investigation into hazing allegations at the Donna Independent School District implicated freshman football coach Damon Gracia.

The school district suspended Gracia, then informed him that his teaching contract would not be renewed. Gracia entered into a settlement agreement with the school, promising to resign in exchange for a neutral recommendation to prospective employees.

Gracia sued the school district after executing the settlement agreement.

The appeals court reversed the Hidalgo County trial court's denial of the school district's plea to the jurisdiction and dismissed Gracia's claim.

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