Following fairly common procedure, Mississippi State baseball coach John Cohen has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit by former player Forrest Moore. The motion was filed Friday in Oktibbeha County Circuit Court by attorney Joy W. Graves.
Cohen denies all the allegations set forth by Moore, who claims that Cohen made a concerted effort to injure his pitching arm and “drive him away” from the team so that Moore’s scholarship money could be used elsewhere. Among the allegations denied by Cohen:
• That he told Moore his scholarship would be reduced from 80 percent;
• That Moore’s regular financial aid was not renewed for the 2009-10 academic year;
• That he forced Moore to pitch for three weeks with a known injury;
• That he violated NCAA rules by requiring players to participate in “excessive practice.”
Cohen’s motion also states that the coach “did not enter into a meeting of the minds with any other person or entity that resulted in an unlawful overt act that caused damages to Moore.” Moore’s lawsuit alleges that Cohen and associate athletics director for media relations Mike Nemeth, who’s also a party in the lawsuit, worked together to prevent Moore from undergoing proper physical rehabilitation and to deny him proper athletic financial aid.
Cohen’s motion says he is entitled to immunity from liability under the Mississippi Tort Claims Act. Moore’s lawsuit says that act does not provide Cohen protection from Moore’s claims of Intentional Interference with Contract and Civil Conspiracy.
MSU said four weeks ago that its compliance department is looking into Moore’s allegations.
• A judge has been assigned to this lawsuit: Lee S. Coleman, the newest judge in the 16th Circuit Court District. An attorney from West Point, he won a runoff election in November against Nebra Porter for a newly created seat in the district. A circuit court official did not know when Coleman would address Cohen’s motion.