Former Baylor University head football coach Art Briles asked to be removed Wednesday as a defendant in a federal Title IX lawsuit that alleges the school did not respond to claims of sexual assault.
The motion claims the plaintiffs have not laid out complaints against Briles that the court could take action on, said Kenneth Tekell, one of the lawyers who submitted the motion on Briles’ behalf.
Jasmin Hernandez, who filed the lawsuit in March, was sexually assaulted in 2012 by Tevin Elliott while both were Baylor students. Elliott, who was on the football team, was sentenced to a 20-year prison term in 2014.
Other women testified during Elliott’s trial that he also had sexually assaulted them.
It is the Tribune-Herald’s policy not to name sexual assault survivors, but Hernandez gave permission to be identified.
Briles, who was fired amid Baylor’s sexual assault scandal, filed the motion alleging the “plaintiff’s complaint includes few factual allegations against Coach Briles, and those factual allegations do not show a right to relief that is plausible.”
The motion also states a “plaintiff cannot state a claim against individual defendants under Title IX” because the law applies only to entities receiving federal funds.
It claims a two-year statute of limitations has passed in regard to Hernandez’s claims. The lawsuit was filed in May, and Hernandez was assaulted in April 2012.
The motion also says Briles, as Elliott’s coach, was not liable for negligence in the case.
Irwin Zalkin, one of Hernandez’s lawyers, said his team will respond to the motion.
“I don’t think they understand the allegations of the complaint,” Zalkin said. “We disagree with them on the status of the law. We’ll certainly be responding to their effort to get out of the lawsuit.”
Zalkin said Briles had “personal responsibilities to monitor and oversee his players.”
“We’re alleging that he knew (of sexual assault claims against Elliott), and we believe evidence will show that he had substantial knowledge of what kind of behavior they were engaging in and the risk that they posed to other students,” he said.
2nd motion filed
Briles filed a second motion Wednesday “to stop the plaintiff’s lawyer from continued violation of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct.”
“It’s a motion suggesting strongly to the court that we don’t try the case in the media, and that we have a courtroom for that,” Tekell said.
Zalkin said he will respond in an official capacity with the court.
According to the motion, Alex Zalkin, another lawyer representing Hernandez, broke rules of professional conduct when he told media that Briles broke a promise to apologize to Hernandez in a meeting.
“He made no promise to the plaintiff or anyone associated with her,” the motion states. “Because of the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Conduct . . . Coach Briles is unable to defend himself in the media against these wrongful attacks by counsel for plaintiff Hernandez.”
Briles reached a contract settlement with Baylor last month.
Another Baylor football player, Sam Ukwuachu, was convicted of sexual assault last year. The school reached an undisclosed settlement with Ukwuachu’s victim before any civil lawsuit was filed in the case.
Pepper Hamilton LLP, a Philadelphia law firm that investigated how Baylor handles sexual assault allegations, found a “fundamental failure,” at all levels of the university to respond to sexual assault, according to a summary released by Baylor’s board of regents. It also found the football program operated “above the rules.”
Interim President David Garland and other administrators are working to implement recommendations from Pepper Hamilton.