Fired Baylor Coach Wants Out of Lawsuit

     WACO, Texas (CN) — Fired Baylor football coach Art Briles moved Wednesday to be removed from a rape victim’s indifference lawsuit against him and the school, denying that he reneged on a promise to apologize to her at a failed mediation.
     Former student Jasmin Hernandez sued Baylor, Briles and former athletic director Ian McCaw in Federal Court in March, alleging negligence and gender discrimination. Baylor has been trying to settle the lawsuit, and asked the court in June for more time to file an answer.
     Hernandez claims Briles failed to respond to phone calls from her parents, reporting that she had been raped by former football player Tevin Elliott, whom at least four other women have accused of rape or assault. Elliott was sentenced in January 2014 to 20 years in state prison on each of two counts of sexual assault.
     Briles filed an 11-page motion to dismiss Wednesday, saying Title IX claims cannot be made against individual employees.
     “Title IX applies only to entities that receive federal funds, like Baylor University,” the motion states. “Because individual employees of the university do not receive federal grant money, a plaintiff cannot state a claim against individual defendants under Title IX.”
     Briles says state negligence claims against him also fail because “it is well established in Texas” that a person has no legal duty to protect someone from the criminal acts of another.
     “The Texas Supreme Court has recognized limited exceptions, none of which are factually asserted or apply here, to the general rule of non-liability,” the motion states. “For example, a person who controls premises has a duty to protect an invitee from criminal acts of third persons under certain limited circumstances. Here the sexual assault occurred off-campus at a private apartment complex premises, which premises was not owned or controlled by Coach Briles or Baylor University.”
     Briles says the Title IX claims are barred by the two-year statute of limitations. The rape occurred on April 15, 2012, and the lawsuit was filed three months ago.
     Plaintiff’s attorney Alex Zalkin, of San Diego, Texas, publicly blasted Briles in June, claiming Briles’ personal attorney, Ernest H. Cannon of Stephenville, Texas, called him and said Briles “promised” to come to a June 17 mediation session with the school “to support Jasmin” and “help her, and to apologize to her and her family.”
     Zalkin said Briles failed to show, and reached a buyout settlement with the school that day for the rest of his contract. Zalkin said Briles used his client “as leverage” to negotiate his own claim with the school.
     “He doesn’t care about victims. He never cared about victims,” Zalkin said at the time. “He’s using victims. He used them to help build up his football program, and now he’s using Jasmin to leverage more money out of Baylor.”
     Briles filed an emergency motion for substitution of counsel before the mediation, claiming the “extensive personal information” he provided to school attorneys could be used against him.
     The motion was withdrawn after Briles and Baylor reached the settlement on his contract.
     Briles filed a second motion Wednesday, claiming Zalkin is violating Texas rules of professional conduct by waging a “media war” against him.
     “Coach Briles never spoke with either of the attorneys for the plaintiff in this litigation,” the 5-page motion states. “He made no promise to the plaintiff or to anyone associated with her. Because of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Conduct discussed above, Coach Briles is unable to defend himself in the media against these wrongful attacked by counsel for plaintiff Hernandez.”
     Briles is represented by Kenneth Tekell, with Tekell, Book, Allen & Morris, of Houston.

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