Williamslawsuit thrown out

Last week, a Hennepin County District judge dismissed the lawsuit brought by former Gophers assistant men’s basketball coach Jimmy Williams against the University and Athletics Director Joel Maturi.

The civil case, which Williams’ counsel filed in October, claimed the University offered Williams an assistant coaching position under men’s basketball head coach Tubby Smith, but then denied such a contract.

Because all of the assistant coaching positions were filled, Williams was seeking monetary damages of excess of $50,000, according to the lawsuit.

Williams’ counsel plans to appeal the decision, according to Star Tribune reports.

Hennepin County District Court judge Regina Chu ruled for the dismissal on Tuesday.

“This is a complete victory for Tubby, Joel and the University,” Mark Rotenberg, University general counsel, said in an interview before learning about the pending appeal.

The decision fell in line with what the University has said in its defense since day one, he said.

“The judge this week issued a well-reasoned decision,” Rotenberg said. “All of (Williams’) claims lacked merit.”

Williams’ history of NCAA violations at the University was the reason he wasn’t offered the position, he said.

Other portions of the lawsuit dismissed include a defamation charge and a complaint that the University breached Williams’ right to due process.

Chu found no basis for the defamation claim because of the fact that Williams hasn’t denied NCAA findings of violations, according to a University statement.

In addition to the dismissal of the defamation claim, Chu found Williams should have pursued his grievance within the University system before filing a civil suit, according to the statement.

Neither Williams’ attorney Richard Hunegs nor anyone at his law firm was available for comment on the dismissal.

Rotenberg said he met several times with Williams’ attorney in hopes of settling the case – which is something the University aims to do.

“The University always prefers settlements to lengthy trials,” he said.