John Brannen refiles lawsuit against University of Cincinnati

Brannen was fired ‘for cause’.. following a university investigation he claimed was a sham.
Published: Oct. 4, 2021 at 10:38 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (FOX19/CINCINNATI ENQUIRER) - Fired University of Cincinnati men’s basketball head coach John Brannen has dropped his federal lawsuit against the school and refiled in state court.

Brannen sued in federal court in May seeking compensatory and punitive damages as well as more than $5 million in buyout money he claimed he was due.

He named as defendants the university, UC Director of Athletics John Cunningham and UC President Neville G. Pinto.

His attorney filed the voluntary dismissal motion on Oct. 1.

The same day, Brannen filed a similar suit in the Ohio Court of Claims. The named defendants are the university, the State of Ohio and Ohio AG Dave Yost.

Ohio law prevents plaintiffs from pursuing separate cases arising from the same facts in separate jurisdictions, meaning Brannen had to withdraw the federal suit in order to file the state suit.

“Coach Brannen looks forward to proving his case in the Court of Claims, clearing his good name, and continuing his successful coaching career,” Brannen’s attorney, Tom Mars, said Monday night.

The allegations in the state suit are substantially the same as those in the federal suit.

EVERYTHING IN THE FILING | John Brannen sues the University of Cincinnati

Brannen was fired in April after being put on paid administrative leave as the university’s investigated allegations against the coaching staff. Brannen said he only learned of those allegations when they were reported in the media.

The suit claims Brannen’s suspension and termination were the “result of a sham ‘investigation’ that was unfair, unreliable and inherently flawed and nothing more than a smokescreen to avoid triggering a contractual buyout clause that would have cost the University millions of dollars.”

UC Athletic Director John Cunningham had already decided to fire Brannen “for cause” when he announced the internal investigation, according to the complaint.

UC hired Brannen in April 2019, eight months before Cunningham took over as Cincinnati’s athletic director.

Brannen spent the previous four seasons at Northern Kentucky University.

The Bearcats went 32-21 in Brannen’s two seasons. Cincinnati finished 12-11 last season and failed to advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010.

UC introduced Wes Miller as the new head coach on April 16.

Copyright 2021 WXIX. All rights reserved. The Cincinnati Enquirer contributed to this report.