The [Duke] Devil is in the Details

11/17/2008

Duke University football is so bad that they can breach a contract to play the University of Louisville and not have to pay damages to Louisville. How is that?  Well, the contract contained a damage provision that entitled UofL to $150,000 for each of the three games that Duke refused to play following the 2003 season.  That was the Large Print; but the small print said Louisville was only entitled to damages if they could not find a team of equal caliber to replace Duke.  Therein lies the Devil (pardon the pun) in the details.  Duke's lawyers argued that the Blue Devils' performance on the field was so poor that any Division I team would suffice as a replacement. Duke is 6-45 over the past five years, 13-90 since 1999.

Judge Phillip J. Shepherd of the Franklin County (Ky.) Circuit Court agreed, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.

"At oral argument, Duke [with a candor perhaps more attributable to good legal strategy than to institutional modesty] persuasively asserted that this is a threshold that could not be any lower," Shepherd wrote in a summary judgment issued Thursday, according to the paper. "Duke's argument on this point cannot be reasonably disputed by Louisville."

Thanks to Dean Chen of the University of Louisville School of Law for pointing this interesting legal story out in his blog.

Hans