How many times have we used the phrase “it is just a ….” In the case of Oklahoma contractor Brent Loveland (“Loveland”), “it is just a shirt, coach” did not work out well. According to a lawsuit recently filed by Loveland, Oklahoma State University (“OSU”) head football coach Mike Gundy (“Coach Gundy”) took umbrage to the contractor wearing a University of Oklahoma (“OU”) t-shirt to his home while he was being paid to perform services. Loveland was hired to perform floor trim carpentry work.
According to Loveland, he woke up at 4:00 a.m. on the morning of March 21, 2011 and dressed in the dark. He unknowingly chose the first shirt on top of his drawer, which happened to be an OU baseball t-shirt. Later in the morning, Loveland arrived at the jobsite wearing the OU baseball t-shirt. According to Loveland, when Coach Gundy noticed the OU baseball t-shirt, he came unglued and went into a profanity laced tirade in which he “let loose a string of cursing that would make a sailor blush.” Ultimately, according to Loveland, Coach Gundy told him he was a “stupid idiot” for wearing the t-shirt on “OSU soil” and he told Loveland to “pack his s–t”.
Loveland claims he lost over $80,000.00 from the Gundy job and the opportunity to perform at least two other jobs. As a result, Loveland is suing Gundy (and his wife) under theories of breach of contract, detrimental reliance, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
It is important to note the suit was filed in Payne County. The county seat of Payne County happens to be Stillwater, which is also home to OSU. I might be missing the boat, but I have a feeling it will be difficult to obtain an unbiased jury in Payne County in light of the t-shirt worn and Coach Gundy’s following. Loveland could ask for a jury pool from another county or seek transfer to another venue.