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Sarkisian Lawsuit Headed to Arbitration

Thursday, March, 10, 2016


The ongoing dispute between Steve Sarkisian and USC could be settled through arbitration. The dispute began when Sarkisian claimed the school’s athletic director Pat Haden dismissed him rather than allow him to seek treatment for alcoholism. The school has publicly stated the lawsuit is filled with “half-truths” and “outright falsehoods.”


The arbitration will be a private event, so unlike the case up until this point, the media will be limited as to what it can report. As was reported previously, Sarkisian’s lawsuit alleges discrimination on the basis of disability and breach of contract.


According to Sarkisian’s attorney, they remain confident they will prevail even in arbitration. He is seeking $12.6 million, which is the remaining amount in his contract, as well as unspecified damages.


According to his legal team, the lawsuit was brought against the school in part because of lack of transparency. The private arbitration eliminates transparency now related to the case, as the testimony by all sides, the depositions, and any other documents will remain private. Those familiar with the case believe the public aspect of the dispute ending could be good for the case.


Legal experts also believe Sarkisian’s lawsuit might have been doomed from the very beginning. He was hired in December 2013 and signed a two-page agreement that stated all disputes would be settled through arbitration, an agreement he would have a difficult time getting out of, even if he didn’t want to arbitrate. His attorneys pushed back against the arbitration clause and USC responded in kind, but in the end both sides agreed to arbitrate.