West Virginia University’s attorneys have asked a federal court judge for permission to place Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez under oath and ask them where Rodriguez lived when West Virginia filed a lawsuit against him last month for breach of contract.
Rodriguez resigned as West Virginia’s head football coach on Dec. 19. West Virginia is seeking to enforce the $4 million buyout clause in Rodriguez’s contract.
Under dispute is the jurisdiction of West Virginia’s lawsuit against Rodriguez. Currently, the suit is being heard in a federal court because Rodriguez claimed to be living in Michigan.
Rodriguez filed a $1.5 million letter of credit Tuesday through the Bank of Ann Arbor, a bank founded by University Athletic Director Bill Martin, which says he has the means to pay that amount if a federal court finds him liable.
But if West Virginia’s lawyers successfully move the university’s suit from U.S. Federal Court to Monongalia Circuit Court in West Virginia, the letter of credit would have no value.
Rodriguez’s lawyers have until Feb. 12 to respond to the request filed by West Virginia’s lawyers to have Rodriguez and his wife go under oath in court and take questions about where he lived when the suit was filed.
Marvin Robon, an attorney representing Rodriguez in the case, said when Rodriguez signed a letter of intent to coach at the University of Michigan on Dec. 16, he received a Michigan driver’s license and a lease on an apartment in Michigan, and was registered to vote in Michigan.
On Jan. 18, West Virginia’s attorneys argued to move the case back to Monongalia Circuit Court in Morgantown, where West Virginia University is located, citing several pieces of evidence that Rodriguez still lived in the state of West Virginia when the university filed the suit against him.
The university’s attorneys produced a Federal Express envelope from Jan. 10 sent to Craig Walker, the chief of staff for West Virginia president Mike Garrison, which listed Rich Rodriguez as the sender with a Morgantown address listed as the return address.
Robon said he advised Rodriguez not to put his Ann Arbor address on the Federal Express envelope because it would make his Ann Arbor address available to the public and endanger Rodriguez, who has received numerous threats since becoming Michigan’s head football coach.
Robon said he would be soon provide the U.S. District court with documents proving that Rodriguez has citizenship in Michigan – something that would keep the case in federal court.
Jeffrey Wakefield, an attorney representing West Virginia, said he believed that Rodriguez’s wife continued to live in West Virginia and that his children continued to go to school in West Virginia after the lawsuit was filed, which proved that Rodriguez was still a citizen of the state.