BRYAN - Texas A&M University's new football defensive coordinator has filed a lawsuit against his new employer and his former one, Louisiana State University, over his contract situation.
At issue: whether LSU is owed money for Chavis ending his contract with the university earlier this year, and if so, whether A&M is obligated to pay some or all of it.
The suit, filed Friday afternoon, notes Chavis became the defensive coordinator of LSU in 2009. Originally, it says he was under contract until the end of 2011, but a pair of contract extensions pushed his deal to December 31, 2015.
According to the suit, when the 2014 football season ended, another extension was being discussed, but the negotiations broke down.
Chavis claims under his contract, he was given a right to terminate his employment agreement with LSU without cause with 30 days notice. If there were between zero and 11 months left on the deal, Chavis claimed he would owe nothing to LSU, but if between 11 and 23 months were left, he would owe $400,000 to the university.
On January 2, 2015, Chavis claims LSU Director of Athletics Joe Alleva demanded that Chavis pay the university $400,000. On January 5, Chavis says he turned in this 30-day notice to terminate the contract without cause, making his last day February 4.
"Based on Chavis' notice of termination on January 5, 2015, the 'termination date' according to the Amendment was effective thirty days after the written notice served to LSU or February 4, 2015, which falls within the 11th month remaining on Chavis' Employment Agreement," reads the suit. According to Chavis, he does not owe LSU $400,000 as a result.
Chavis says Texas A&M is "currently obligated to satisfy or cause to be satisfied the liquidated damages, if any, associated with Chavis' previous Employment Agreement with LSU," the suit reads. However, it claims A&M is "unwilling to tender the liquidated damages demanded by LSU because it does it does (sic) not believe that liquidated damages are called for under the Employment Agreement as mentioned above."
Chavis, who is represented by attorney Bill Youngkin, wants a court to figure out whether LSU is owed the money, and if so, what A&M is required to pay LSU. The 272nd District Court in Brazos County has the suit.
"The reason why A&M is here is because they are the indispensable party because they've hired him, and as part of the contract with A&M, they have agreed to take on that financial responsibility if it occurs, so naturally they have an interest," Youngkin said.
In a statement, the general counsel for LSU, Thomas Skinner, tells News 3, “Now that the lawsuit has been filed and litigation is pending, we’re not going to comment on the substance of the allegations in the lawsuit other than to say that LSU is going to seek to fully enforce its rights under the contract and we’re very confident in the outcome.”
Jason Cook, Texas A&M's Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs, says the university does not comment on active litigation However, he did confirm Chavis will coach spring practice, which begins Monday.