Steve Sarkisian Stays Classy, Sues USC For $30 Million
This probably should be in that landmark case category, eh? Can someone who was fired for being intoxicated on the job claim alcoholism as a disability, and use it as a basis to sue his former employer? That's what Steve Sarkisian is doing, according to multiple reports.
The former USC football head coach says through his attorney that USC athletic director Pat Haden fired him in October instead of trying to help him seek treatment for alcoholism. Los Angeles Times:
“Instead of accommodating Steve Sarkisian’s disability, USC kicked him to the curb,” the lawsuit said.
The 31-page complaint filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court alleges breach of contract, discrimination on the basis of disability and invasion of privacy. It also provides Sarkisian's first public account of the events that led to his ouster after less than two years as USC’s head coach.
In the suit, Sarkisian says the stress of his job coupled with his wife filing for divorce earlier this year furthered his alcohol dependency.
The lawsuit is for $30 million, including lost wages and other damages, and claims that Sarkisian was not actually intoxicated on the two occasions which led to his dismissal -- USC’s Salute to Troy booster event in August, where he slurred his words and uttered a profanity, and during te Sept. 26 game against Arizona State, in which he also appeared to be drunk.
According to the lawsuit, on both occasions Sarkisian had consumed a small amount of alcohol, but had also ingested anti-anxiety medication that made him appear intoxicated.
USC says it hasn't received it. San Gabriel Valley Times:
“USC has not received anything related to a lawsuit regarding Steve Sarkisian,” its statement said. “Further, should such a lawsuit be filed, USC does not comment on pending litigation.”
Sarkisian claims he is sober and wants to coach again but USC “has taken away his team, his income and a job that he loved.”
So this seems like a hail Mary -- but strange things have happened in southern California courtrooms. So stay tuned.
Insider photo of Steve Sarkisian and his lawyer discussing strategy for his USC lawsuit. pic.twitter.com/4iJqG8lsMO
— Mike Jelline (@MikeJelline) December 7, 2015
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