HOOVER, Ala. – A week before the college football season begins, LSU and former defensive coordinator John Chavis will battle in the courtroom again.
This time, it’ll come in Texas.
A hearing has been set for Aug. 21 in Chavis’ Texas-based lawsuit against his former employer-turned-rival, court records show. LSU is arguing for judge Travis Bryan III to dismiss the lawsuit on the grounds of jurisdiction – something that could happen at the hearing.
The hearing will be the first court meeting between the two parties in Chavis’ suit against the school, which is playing out in the 272nd District Court in Brazos County, Texas – the home of Texas A&M, where Chavis currently serves as defensive coordinator.
The August hearing is the latest in a litigation saga that began with LSU and Chavis filing dueling suits against one another – Chavis’ in Texas and LSU’s in Louisiana – on Feb. 27 regarding the coach’s buyout. The school says he owes $400,000 for breaking his contract early, while Chavis and Texas A&M claim he does not.
Attorneys in both cases are squabbling over the venue for the suit — Texas or Louisiana — and want the other’s suit dismissed or stopped.
Chavis, who left the Tigers for the same position at one of LSU’s chief rivals, was a hot topic Tuesday at the second day of SEC media days in this Birmingham suburb. A&M coach Kevin Sumlin was peppered with questions about hiring away Chavis and the coach’s messy divorce with LSU.
Sumlin said the dueling lawsuits have “not been a distraction at all.”
The parties are meeting in August in what has been a more than four-month-long battle that saw its first court hearing two weeks ago in LSU’s suit against Chavis in the 19th Judicial Court in East Baton Rouge Parish.
Judge Timothy Kelley, during that hearing, denied Chavis’ request to temporarily stop the suit in Louisiana until his case against LSU in Texas is resolved.
“The case belongs here,” Barton said after the hearing.
The suit has provided some juicy moments since February, including the current judges in each case. Bryan, the judge ruling on the case in Texas, received his bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M. The judge overseeing the Louisiana case, Kelley, is an LSU graduate and football season-ticket holder.