Briles Tries to Separate Himself from Baylor in Lawsuit

Late Wednesday, former Baylor University Head Football Coach Art Briles asked a federal court to remove him as a defendant in a lawsuit brought against the school by a former student who claimed she was raped by a player. That player, Tevin Elliot, has been convicted and sent to prison for a separate assault.

Five women have filed Title IX lawsuits against Baylor, two of whom say they were attacked by members of Briles' team. In the Wednesday filing, Briles attorneys claim that he can't be sued as part of a Title IX lawsuit when he is no longer a part of the university. They also claim that, under Texas law, Briles bears no legal responsibility for what may have happened to Jasmin Hernandez, one of the women involved in the suits.

"It is well established in Texas that as a general rule, a person has no legal duty to protect another from the criminal acts of another,'' Briles' motion says.

Even if both of those things weren't true, Briles' attorneys go on, and Briles would've been responsible for Elliot's actions were the player to have been his employee, Elliot — and Sam Ukwuachu and Shawn Coleman, other Briles' charges accused of sexual assault — wasn't his employee.

"Coach Briles was not the employer of Tevin Elliot or [Hernandez], two adult students of Baylor University, who met off-campus at a private apartment complex during a party that was not organized or sponsored by Coach Briles or Baylor University,'' the motion says.

Briles was officially let go by the school on June 24 after being suspended "with intent to terminate" in late May following a school-commissioned report by the law firm Pepper Hamilton that found Briles, his staff and the members of the Baylor administration acted to cover-up and smooth over multiple accusations of sexual assault against the football team. In a joint statement released after he and the school reached a settlement with regard to the $40 million left on his 10-year contract with the school signed in 2013, Briles admitted "serious shortcomings" when it came to the seriousness with which the football program dealt with alleged sexual assaults by its players.

Briles lawyers also asked that Hernandez' attorney, Alex Zalkin, be removed from the case or given a gag order because of an interview Zalkin gave ESPN. Zalkin claimed in the interview that Briles failed to show up to a settlement discussion with Hernandez at which he was supposed to apologize on June 17. Briles claims he wasn't told about the meeting and hasn't spoken to Hernandez or her lawyers. He has no interest in settling, the filing says, because he hasn't done anything wrong.
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Stephen Young has written about Dallas news for the Observer since 2014. He's a Dallas native and a graduate of the University of North Texas.
Contact: Stephen Young

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