A jury will hear Sunny Golloway’s case against Auburn University officials in June 2018, according to a joint report filed in federal court on Thursday.
A Sept. 12 order dismissed all but one of Golloway’s claims. A magistrate judge recommended in March that all of Golloway’s claims be dismissed in favor of the officials, but Chief U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins determined that, if his claims are true, Golloway could be entitled to some relief.
“Alabama courts have recognized that a coworker acts outside his authority and with malice when he repeatedly spreads fabrications or otherwise maneuvers to get a plaintiff fired,” the order reads. “Though it is a close call, Mr. Golloway has alleged a ‘pattern of interference,’ … whereby [d]efendants worked to undermine and eventually oust their baseball coach.”
Golloway was fired in September 2015 after the University accused him of 11 NCAA infractions. He was fired with cause, which allowed Auburn to avoid paying him the remaining amount on his contract.
Golloway accused Auburn athletic director Jay Jacobs of defamation and fraud, but those counts were among the ones dismissed. The claims against the Board of Trustees were dismissed on the grounds of sovereign immunity — a state law protecting Universities from lawsuits.
Former Auburn chief operating officer David Benedict, executive associate athletic director Rich McGlynn, director of operations for track and field and cross country Scott Duval and associate athletic director Jeremy Roberts are the remaining defendants.
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The remaining count for tortious interference is based on Golloway’s allegations that the University officials “encouraged players to tell them negative things” about him, told a high school coach that Golloway gave away school-owned baseballs and "withdr[ew] their blessing" for an all-star game at a recruiting camp to hurt his position with the University.
In an answer to Golloway's complaint, a lawyer from Birmingham law firm Lightfoot, Franklin & White, which is representing the defendants, denied the allegations and called Golloway's complaint a "quintessential 'shotgun' pleading, because it is 'replete with factual allegations that could not possibly be material' to his claim."
Jurors are expected to spend four days in June determining whether the University officials did, in fact, act outside their authority to get Golloway fired.
"Now that we have a court date, we can move forward with discovery," Golloway told The Plainsman in a phone interview on Saturday. "I never lied during the course of any of this. I was very truthful and transparent. Anybody that knows me knows that's what I am — maybe transparent to a fault."
Discovery for the trial is due by Feb. 15, 2018, and the two parties will exchange a list of witnesses and exhibits no later than 14 days before the trial.
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