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Judge ready to end Leach lawsuits

Betsy Blaney Associated Press

LUBBOCK, Texas – A judge is preparing to sign final orders to grant summary judgment in favor of Craig James, ESPN Inc. and a public relations firm in lawsuits brought against them by current Washington State football coach Mike Leach after he was fired by Texas Tech, Leach attorney Stephen Heninger said Thursday.

State District Judge William Sowder sent letters Tuesday to attorneys, asking defense attorneys to draw up a proposed order for summary judgment in the cases. The letters said the judge was granting the motions for summary judgment but it’s not official until Sowder signs the order.

Heninger said Leach would appeal once the judge signs.

“I’m very surprised,” Heninger said. “Feel very confident on the appeal. Very.”

Shannon Teicher, the attorney representing public relations firm Spaeth Communications, said her client was confident the judge would rule in favor of the company.

“The truth made its way into the record,” Teicher said.

Texas Tech fired Leach in December 2009 amid accusations he mistreated James’ son, a player who had a concussion. James was named a defendant in the lawsuit Leach filed against the university.

The suit against ESPN and Spaeth Communication alleged libel and slander.

“It is great news today for us and our family,” James said. “Quite honestly we expected this result because we always knew the truth would prevail.

In February, the last remaining count in Leach’s lawsuit against the school was dismissed.

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