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Lane Kiffin Revives Our Interference With Contractual Relations Convo

Remember when I took roughly a week of your time going on a rant about interference with contractual relations?  If you need a refresher, see: Sports Agents Interfering With Contractual Relations, Digging Deeper Into The Contractual Interference Claim, and The Interference With Contractual Relations Conversation Continues.  In those posts, I looked into the claim that a sports agent may have when a rival intentionally acts to steal clients away.  If you have time, I suggest reading through each in their entirety.

This claim based in tort may have other applications in the sports world as well.  The Tennessee Titans plan to give it a try against former Tennessean, Lane Kiffin.  It is based on the possibility that Kiffin intentionally recruited former Titans running backs coach Kennedy Pola in an effort to add him to the USC football staff, even though Kiffin had an understanding that Pola was under contract.

Michael McCann of the Sports Law Blog points out that the lawsuit against Kiffin mentions that the coach maliciously interfered with Pola’s contract.  What seems like an enhanced claim is based on the fact that the under Pola’s contract, the Titans required that Pola obtain written permission from the Titans president and GM before entertaining any competing offers.  If Kiffin knew about that clause, yet willfully and wantonly disregarded it in his recruitment of Pola, could we possibly see punitive damages awarded as well?  The Titans have at least mentioned punitive damages as a possible remedy in its complaint.

As for the complaint that was filed:

Titans v Kiffin

By Darren Heitner

Darren Heitner created Sports Agent Blog as a New Year's Resolution on December 31, 2005. Originally titled, "I Want To Be A Sports Agent," the website was founded with the intention of causing Heitner to learn more about the profession that he wanted to join, meet reputable individuals in the space and force himself to stay on top of the latest news and trends.

Heitner now runs Heitner Legal, P.L.L.C., which is a law firm with many practice areas, including sports law and contract law. Heitner has represented numerous athletes and sports agents as legal counsel. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor at Indiana University Bloomington from 2011-2014, where he created and taught a course titled, Sport Agency Management, which included subjects ranging from NCAA regulations to athlete agent certification and the rules governing the profession. Heitner serves as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida Levin College of Law, where he teaches a Sports Law class that includes case law surrounding athlete agents and the NCAA rules.