Appealed from the Nineteenth Judicial District Court, In and for the Parish of East Baton Rouge State of Louisiana. Suit Number 509,900. Honorable Todd W. Hernandez, Judge.
G. Karl Bernard, Eric Louis Register, New Orleans, LA And Marshall Joseph Simien, Jr., Lake Charles, LA, Counsel for Plaintiff/Appellant, Jerry Lee Baldwin.
James D. " Buddy" Caldwell, Attorney General, Stephen J. Oats, Lawrence E. Marino, Robin L. Jones, George O. Luce, Special Assistant Attorneys General, Lafayette, LA, Counsel for Defendant/Appellee, The Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.
BEFORE: PARRO, GUIDRY, AND DRAKE, JJ.
[2013 0602 La.App. 1 Cir. 2]
A former football coach appeals a summary judgment dismissing his claim for breach of contract. Finding that the trial court legally erred in interpreting the subject employment contract, we reverse.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
In April 1999, Jerry Lee Baldwin entered into a contract with the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System (Board) to serve as the head football coach at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL). The contract was for a term of 49 months and 20 days, commencing on December 11, 1998, and concluding on January 31, 2003. As head football coach, Mr. Baldwin was required " to perform all those services pertaining to the position as prescribed by [ULL] through the President and Athletic Director." On November 26, 2001, Mr. Baldwin was relieved of his duties as head football coach.
Following his dismissal as head football coach, Mr. Baldwin filed a petition for damages against the Board, ULL, and Nelson Schexnayder, individually and as the director of athletics for ULL (collectively " defendants" ). In the petition, Mr. Baldwin claimed damages for breach of
contract, abuse of rights, intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress, and unpaid wages against all the named defendants and further claimed damages for tortious interference with contract against Mr. Schexnayder. By an amending and supplemental petition, Mr. Baldwin added a claim for damages based on racial discrimination against all the defendants.
On March 21, 2005, the defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, seeking dismissal of all of Mr. Baldwin's claims; however, the trial court only granted a partial summary judgment dismissing Mr. Baldwin's claim for racial [2013 0602 La.App. 1 Cir. 3] discrimination. This court later reversed that partial summary judgment, finding that genuine issues of material fact existed precluding the partial summary judgment.
Baldwin v. Board of Supervisors for University of Louisiana System, 06-961 (La.App. 1st Cir. 5/4/07), 961 So.2d 418.
On remand, the matter proceeded to a jury trial on the merits. Following the jury trial, held October 9-18, 2007, judgment was rendered in favor of Mr. Baldwin, awarding him $2,002,676.37 in total damages for his claims of racial discrimination, breach of contract, abuse of rights, interference with a contract, and negligent infliction of emotional distress. On appeal, this court vacated the judgment and remanded the matter for a new trial after finding several reversible errors, some of which were deemed to be material and structural in nature.
See Baldwin v. Board of Supervisors for University of Louisiana System, 08-2359,
pp. 22-23 (La.App. 1st Cir. 6/30/09), 11 So.3d 1247 ...