Citing a “a culture of violation and avoidance of respect,” the Tennessee Titans filed a lawsuit today in Nashville against USC and Lane Kiffin for allegedly ignoring the NFL club’s contractual hiring requirements of assistant running backs coach Kennedy Pola.
In the lawsuit filing (pdf) the Titans claim that when Pola took a job with the franchise on Feb. 1, the assistant coach agreed that he would, “not under any circumstance solicit discussions or entertain employment with any other person or entity during the term without given written permission to do so.”
Pola was then hired last Saturday by Kiffin as USC offensive coordinator. The move came just one week before Titans training camp was scheduled to open. That despite the USC coach allegedly failing to obtain contractually required written permission to formally approach Pola about a position on the Trojans staff.
The filing cites Kiffin utilizing, “improper methods and means to direct harm and damage of parties to contract.” The suit also states that, “written consent” from the Titans was required for USC to hire Pola and that “verbal consent” was “inadequate.”
The NFL team added in its lawsuit that despite fully recognizing Pola’s contract requirements with the Titans, Kiffin “encouraged” the assistant coach to breach the terms of his deal.
The Titans are requesting a jury trial while seeking treble, punitive damages against Kiffin and USC.
Though a serious read, the endgame in this lawsuit is more symbolic than punitive. The odds of Pola returning to the Titans are slim to none regardless of court proceedings and any financial settlement obtained by the NFL team will be small, if not altogether insignificant.
It’s probably not a coincidence that this litigation emanates from the same state that Kiffin recently departed as Univ. of Tennessee coach under turbulent circumstances.
Not to mention that individual Titans game tickets go on sale in less than a week.