Prominent Sports Law Attorney Dropped from Suit

Aug 13, 2004

One of collegiate athletics’ most prominent attorneys, Richard Hilliard, has been dropped from the $60 million lawsuit filed by former University of Alabama assistant football coaches Ronnie Cottrell and Ivy Williams.
The Birmingham News reported that as a condition of dropping Hilliard as a defendant, the Kansas City attorney has agreed to provide a deposition for the plaintiffs, who allege that they were scapegoats when the NCAA investigated and discovered rule violations at the university.
The paper also reported that UA attorney George Gordon wrote a letter to Hilliard’s attorney James A. Harris Jr. supporting the rationale for dropping Hilliard from the suit. Removing the attorney “would dramatically simplify the taking of Richard Hilliard’s deposition and would permit him to testify fully and completely concerning his activities on behalf of the University of Alabama with regard to the NCAA investigation,” Gordon wrote.
The plaintiffs also asked Hilliard’s attorneys to request that the University of Alabama waive attorney-client privilege, an offer that was rejected.
“Plaintiffs counsels’ offer to dismiss Rich from the lawsuit is long overdue; however, a waiver of the attorney-client privilege for the purpose of Rich’s deposition is simply unworkable,” wrote Gordon.
The remaining defendants are the NCAA, NCAA Committee on Infractions Chairman Thomas E. Yeager, NCAA investigator Richard Johanningmeier and freelance recruiting analyst Tom Culpepper.


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