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A Trojan war

Ancient Greeks knew the Trojan War as a blend of mythology and real events that included battles over lands and loves. Today, we have our own Trojan war being waged in Los Angeles between the University of Southern California and its fired, former football coach Steve Sarkisian.

Sarkisian was dismissed in October by USC Athletic Director Pat Haden. In a lawsuit filed last month, the former head coach of the Trojans said USC breached the contract it had with him and that the school discriminated against him on the basis of his disability (alcoholism).

The university recently fired back at Sarkisian, describing his lawsuit as "full of half truths" and "outright falsehoods." The push-back came in a motion asking for the case to be sent to arbitration, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Sarkisian seeks the $12.6 million remaining on his five-year coaching contract, as well as damages.

The former University of Washington coach is asking for one of the most common forms of remedies in breach of contract disputes: compensatory damages.

In this situation, if Sarkisian prevails, a court could order USC to fulfill its financial obligation to the former University of Washington coach. Sarkisian might also be awarded punitive damages if a court determined that the breaching party did something morally reprehensible, such as discriminating against the disabled.

Of course, there are a number of other possibilities, not the least of which is that USC will prevail and that a court will find the school's firing justifiable. We'll see how this case turns out.

Business owners or managers facing breach of contract disputes should know that in many cases the sides become intractable and that legal help is required to settle these complex matters of law. The experienced Thousand Oaks business attorneys of Jerry L. Freedman, A Professional Corporation, will help protect your interests in alternative dispute resolution or with vigorous representation in court.

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