As I wrote about lessons to be learned from Rick Pitino’s lawsuit against Louisville, here is another lesson: when you sue someone, you open the litigation door and you never know what is going to come flying back at you. In Pitino’s case, its a counter-claim; Louisville has sued him back.
Louisville contends that Pitino is liable for breach of contract, negligence and unlawful interference with business relationships between the university and the NCAA, Atlantic Coast Conference, media companies, TV networks and sponsors. Louisville also demands that Pitino indemnify the school for any penalties it must pay to the NCAA for wrongdoing connected to his acts.
There is a technical legal reason why this should have been expected and also a practical one. The technical legal one:
One reason for Louisville to include counterclaims is the legal principle of “res judicata” which is sometimes called “claim preclusion.” In its simplest form, res judicata requires that legal claims stemming from a case must be litigated in that case, and that many types of related claims cannot be litigated once the case is resolved. Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 13(a) outlines res judicata, and it applies to Pitino’s federal lawsuit. As a result, Louisville likely needed to include claims against Pitino while the court (U.S. District Judge David Hale) considers Pitino’s arguments.
And the second is to gain leverage in settlement:
Louisville’s counterclaims are also designed to raise the possibility that Pitino might need to pay the school for the damage it believes he caused. Such damage, Louisville asserts, goes beyond a mere failure to perform his contract.