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MSU seeks dismissal of suit

Kramer: Didn’t get to challenge firing

HELENA – Montana State University on Tuesday asked a District Court judge to dismiss former football coach Mike Kramer’s wrongful termination lawsuit against the university.

MSU attorney Cal Stacey argued that Kramer had a one-year contract that allowed him to be fired without cause.

“His contract is a clear, unambiguous document that we’re asking the court to enforce,” Stacey said.

Kramer’s attorneys, Cliff Edwards and Triel Culver, argue that MSU issued a press release on May 18, 2007, that said the school was terminating Kramer without cause, but that it went on to list reasons, including the criminal activities of former student-athletes.

“Looking at the football program as a whole and in light of the recent criminal activities of former student-athletes connected to it, I believe there is something broken with our football program and we need to take decisive steps to fix it,” athletic director Peter Fields said in the release.

Edwards has said the statement shows Kramer was really fired “with cause,” and under his contract should have been given a chance to challenge those reasons.

The lawsuit also alleges MSU officials slandered and libeled Kramer for suggesting Kramer was responsible for the illegal activities of former players, hurting his ability to find another coaching job.

Stacey argued that Kramer, who also coached at Eastern Washington, is a public figure and the comments in the release were opinions, not malicious.