I hate to call people out. Actually, that is a lie. I love it and Dave Hickman you may be a poor sports writer, but you are a terrible lawyer. Hickman wastes two pages in today's Charleston Gazette verbally fellating John Beilein and the correctness of the buyout. That's fine, you loved Beilein and wanted to have his baby, but science won't let that happen yet even though Arnold got preggers in that one movie. Unfortunately, Hickman then tries to explain the purpose of the buyout.
Now, before anyone decides that the settlement between West Virginia and Beilein should be taken as a signal to try to barter down that tuition you owe, or the check you’re about to write for season tickets, it’s apples and oranges. This isn’t money owed to West Virginia for services rendered, but rather a punitive award.Well I'm not a contract lawyer, but my first year in law school contracts taught me that there is almost never a punitive award in contracts. The goal in contract law is to put the non-breaching party in the position they would have been had there not been a breach. Liquidated damages must be proven both to have been reasonable in light of the anticipated or actual loss and difficult to prove at the time of the drafting of the contract to be enforceable. Should a liquidated damages clause look penal (not the organ but a punishment) then it is unenforceable. Whether the clause in Beilein's contract could be construed as punishment is reviewed by OS here and here.
WVU clearly settled for one reason alone. The liquidated damages clause was vague and high enough it could be construed as punishment. If so, a judge would not lower the clause, but throw it out giving WVU actual damages which are the cost to bring in Huggybear. So going to court would have been $2.5 million or basically $0, plus the expenses of court. WVU looked at the situation and said $1.5 million is still a lot, so lets take it. Whether it was right or wrong is as the Dude would say, "like your opinion man." Personally, I would have taken it to court because the precedent is set that WVU will back off during later negotiations, but then again I don't have to answer to the state had WVU lost. $1.5 million may not purchase a new scoreboard, but it would at least be able to buy some new sound effects during introductions. I'm sending Dave a link for his response. And Dave if you do drop by you also screwed this up recently, too. Dummy.
*Note from Option Spread: To let you guys know, all three of the contributors to this site are admitted to the practice of law in various states. Its not a brag, its to let you know that we're not just coming up with this crap off the top of our heads or from research on the googles or the ebays. We actually know what we're talking about and we have the student loan debt to prove it.
Further, the information contained in this article and other posts on this site, if legal in nature, is merely provided as information and is not to be construed as legal advice. If you have a legal matter similar to Beilein's or otherwise, please contact a local attorney immediately as the factual nuances in each case differ and are often times essential to the correct analysis of your situation. Since very few of our readers know our actual names and/or identities, this post, and others like it, are also not solicitations or advertisements for legal services. Sorry for the legalese, the ethics rules require this stuff.