On July 26, the Tennesee Titans sued southern cal and its revered and distinguished head football coach for interfering with the NFL team's contract with assistant running backs coach Kennedy Pola.
On July 30, 2010, the defendants in the Tennessee Football Inc. v. Kiffin lawsuit filed a removal petition in federal court which is the first step in trying to get the case out of the Davidson County Chancery Court where it was filed by the Titans. The removal petition alleges Kiffin is a California resident and southern cal’s principal place of business is Los Angeles and no other place.
Now two federal judges had disqualified themselves and the trojan law firm's lead counsel has a relationship with the Judge Magistrate who will handle the case and the firm's website has engaged in puffery as to one of its lawyers.
All of that, after the jump.
The case has been assigned to two federal judges who have disqualified themselves. The case was first assigned to Judge Todd J. Campbell who recused himself. He got his law degree at the University of Tennessee which may explain his inability to be fair in a case where one of the defendants is Kiffin.
The case was then assigned to Judge Aleta Arthur Trauger who also bailed. A Vanderbilt law grad, there is no evidence as to why he bailed on the southern cal litigation except Vanderbilt is in Nashville and Kiffin is unpopular any place in Tennessee.
Procedural matters will be heard by Magistrate Judge Joe Brown; yet another Vanderbilt graduate.
In terms of the sc attorneys, the lead counsel is Steven A. Riley, also a, that's right, Vandy law grad. More about Riley and Judge Brown later.
The hookup for the defense firm is probably John W. Peterson (not a Vandy law grad) who got his undergraduate and law degrees at southern cal, taught at the school, but unlike Patrick Capper Haden, the AD, he has never been suspended from the practice of law as a bar dues paying scofflaw.
Peterson’s role at sc is murky because his law firm misrepresents it. Here is what Peterson’s firm misstates is his relationship with sc: "Mr. Peterson has served as a member of the University of Southern California Board of Governors for the past nine years and currently serves on its Executive Committee." A search of the sc website fails to confirm his role as a "member of the University of Southern California Board of Governors for the past nine years" who currently serves on its "Executive Committee." No doubt, Peterson is involved in alumni fundraising as an Annual Fund Executive Committee member and as a board of governor’s member of the law center alumni association. But he is not a member of the entire sc alumni association (as distinguished from the law center alumni governor board) Board of Governors. I can find no reference on the sc website to a board of governors except in connection with the school alumni association. To be sure, Peterson is not a member of the sc "Board of Governors," if such an organization even exists as his firm’s website incorrectly states.
At present, there is a scheduled case management conference for September 27, 2010 before Judge Brown. It will be interesting if Riley, the lead counsel shows up for the scheduled conference in front of Judge Brown. Why, because both Riley and Judge Brown are both adjunct faculty members at--you guessed it--Vanderbilt Law School. Small world, wouldn't you say?