James O'Brien v. The Ohio State University

Appellate court's decision affirming $2.5M judgment for former OSU basketball coach


Terminated men's basketball coach filed action against state university for breach of employment contract. Following bench trial the Court of Claims rendered verdict for coach. Both parties appealed.

The Court of Appeals, Tyack, J. affirmed the trial court's decision, holding that:

(1) coach did not materially breach employment contract with university, so as to permit termination for cause, by loaning $6,000 to family of player who was never eligible to play college basketball and by not reporting loan to university for over five years;

(2) after-acquired evidence doctrine did not apply so as to completely bar coach's claim;

(3) coach did not earn two additional years on con- tract, for which he sought liquidated damages, based on purported achievement of conference championships; and

(4) incentive payments he received for purported championships were deductible from liquidated damages.

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Reference Info:Decision | State, 6th Circuit, Ohio | United States

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