Judge dismisses claims against Alabama president

Updated: October 23, 2003, 7:02 PM ET
Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. -- The remainder of Mike Price's $20 million lawsuit over his firing as Alabama's football coach was thrown out Thursday, with a judge dismissing claims against the university president.

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While Price alleged he was wrongly fired without a hearing and then denied an appeal, U.S. District Judge Scott Coogler ruled Price could not collect from University of Alabama President Robert Witt.

Coogler, who ordered Price to pay the costs of the case, dismissed most of Price's lawsuit last month when he ruled the university was immune from being sued over the termination.

At the time, Coogler also said Witt was immune in his official capacity on most counts, but did not rule until Thursday that Witt could not be sued on any of the remaining claims.

Price attorney Steve Heninger did not immediately return a telephone call seeking comment, but Price could appeal.

Witt issued a one-sentence statement saying he was "pleased to have reached closure in this lawsuit."

Price was fired in May after questions arose about his drunken behavior at a golf tournament in Pensacola, Fla.

Price, who was hired from Washington State last year to replace Dennis Franchione, admitted being heavily intoxicated at a topless bar. But he contended his actions did not warrant dismissal.

Price, who had a seven-year, $10 million deal with Alabama, never signed his contract with the university -- a key fact that Coogler said prevented Price from proving he was defrauded.

In the lawsuit, Price was seeking $10 million in compensation and the same amount in punitive damages.

Price filed a separate lawsuit seeking $20 million over a Sports Illustrated story about his trip to Pensacola. That case is still pending.


Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press

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