Wednesday, April 22, 2020

KU’s outside legal bills in lawsuit over Beaty firing surpass $350,000

The University of Kansas' Memorial Stadium is pictured on Monday, Aug. 7, 2017.

The University of Kansas' Memorial Stadium is pictured on Monday, Aug. 7, 2017.


A legal battle over the termination of former Kansas football coach David Beaty has cost Kansas Athletics and the University of Kansas upward of $350,000 in outside legal fees in the 13 months since Beaty sued the athletic department over his November 2018 firing.

Records obtained by the Journal-World through a Kansas Open Records Act request show Kansas Athletics retained Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP, a Kansas City, Mo.-based firm, to serve as outside counsel on the case in October 2019 — roughly seven months after Beaty initially filed suit.

The mounting legal bills in the case — which is not yet near a trial date — already total over a tenth of what is being disputed in the litigation: Beaty's $3 million contract buyout.

Beaty, who went 6-42 in four seasons with the Jayhawks, has argued in the March 12, 2019, lawsuit, subsequent depositions and a recently discovered response to an NCAA Notice of Allegations that KU officials drummed up minor NCAA rules violations to retroactively fire him for cause — avoiding paying the $3 million buyout.

KU used its in-house general counsel — which regularly handles matters both for the university and the athletics department — to fight the case in its initial months before enlisting outside counsel, court records show.

As part of its contract with Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP — also obtained by the Journal-World in the records request — KU was given a 10% discount on all billable hours, though a reason was not made clear.

The invoices from the firm have redacted the specific legal services the firm has provided, citing an exemption in the state Open Records Act. What they do show, however, is that as the case moves along, the firm has had to ramp up its billable hours.

Monthly invoices billed to the University's General Counsel office indicate the following charges:

• November 2019: $33,703.90

• December 2019: $44,106.25

• January 2020: $67,790.45

• February 2020: $57,006.87

• March 2020: $149,946.57

The invoices are typically sent to KU on the 9th or 10th of each month for the preceding month's charges. According to the March invoice, KU so far has paid $142,255.05 of its outstanding balance.

A KU spokesperson did not return a request for comment about whether the university's general expense fund or Kansas Athletics is footing the bill for the charges.


Spencer Goff 2 years, 5 months ago

Seems like a good choice of how to spend money...

Dirk Medema 2 years, 5 months ago


Not seeing how it makes sense or cents.

Spencer Goff 2 years, 5 months ago

Obviously is sarcasm. We have already spent 1/9th his buyout and this $hit show isn’t over with. We might spend close to a million in legal fees plus any settlement (potentially lose?) plus the reputation damage.

My next piece of humor is to say this is not legal fees but our stimulus check to Bryan Cave Leighton LLP to make sure they stay afloat. Just doing our part for the economy...

Armen Kurdian 2 years, 5 months ago

The longer this goes, the worse it's going to look for the AD if we lose. And I'm not fully convinced KU is in the right here.

Ray Winger 2 years, 5 months ago

"Suffer any wrong that can be done you , rather than come here. The Dastardly Court of Chancery, whose primary purpose is to rather garner business for itself. Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Len Shaffer 2 years, 5 months ago

It's just pathetic. I'm actually surprised the fees haven't been more by this point, but as Spencer points out, it will probably end up being somewhere around $1 million by the time it's done.

On what planet did they think this could POSSIBLY have been a god idea?????

Dane Pratt 2 years, 5 months ago

Even if we win the lawsuit, in the court of public opinion we lose.

Brian Skelly 2 years, 5 months ago

It's hard to put in to words the sheer lunacy of this. This was ripe for a settlement. All that said, KU has made poor decisions in it's football coaching hires, and it's costing them both directly and indirectly.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 5 months ago

As crazy as this is, there have been people on here arguing that it was appropriate, and other comments that make the craziest of this seem normal by comparison.

Dirk Medema 2 years, 5 months ago

The really sad part though is that these decisions aren’t being made by the admin that made all the bad coaching decisions but by the one “making almost all the right decisions”.

Stephen Johnson 2 years, 5 months ago

Basically - lets just call this like it is. KU fired Beatty and wanted to save the money that he was owed, so that they could use it to pay Miles. They hoped Beatty would roll over and just accept it. KU is in the wrong and I hope we pay through the nose for this. PAY the man and keep your word.

Mark Wooden 2 years, 5 months ago

Employment laws say different and it is an interesting case. Personally I've moved on and don't care how it turns out. Public opinion is always just that public opinion and as long as you do you the rest is just bull.

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