It’s been in play for some time now, but I’ve confirmed that Eunice Elliot is suing the SWAC and conference commissioner Duer Sharp for alleged breach of contract. Elliot was hired as the SWAC’s Director of Branding/External Operations before leaving in July 2009.
In the lawsuit (EUNICE ELLIOTT v. SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE ET AL) filed back on December 22, 2009 in the Circuit Court of Jefferson County in Birmingham, Elliot claims that Duer failed to pay money that was owed to her for finalizing a deal that would make Farmers Insurance a SWAC sponsor.
Below is a portion of the complaint taken from court records filed by Elliot’s attorney, Derrick A. Mills;
1. Plaintiff, Eunice Elliott, entered into a contract with Defendant SWAC, as a consultant to provide marketing, corporate sales and advertising services to the defendant.
2. Payment to Ms. Elliot under the contract includes a commission of 15% for new business that is developed for Defendant SWAC.
3. Ms. Elliot made contacts with a representative of Farmers Insurance Group (“Farmers”) for a sponsorship package for SWAC events, and, through Ms. Elliot’s efforts, Farmers became a SWAC sponsor. Ms. Elliot ultimately negotiated and reached an agreement with Farmers to become a SWAC sponsor.
4. Although the Farmers project was finalized, Defendant Sharpe intentionally delayed signing the agreement to avoid paying Ms. Elliot her earned commission.
5. Unbeknownst to Ms. Elliot, Defendant Duer Sharpe contacted Farmers regarding the sponsorship package after Ms. Elliot had established the relationship; said contact by Defendant Sharpe was not communicated to Ms. Elliot.
6. On or about July 29, 2009, having fulfilled her 12-month obligation under her consulting contract with the SWAC, Ms. Elliot decided not to extend her contract with Defendant SWAC.
Not surprisingly, Duer (and his attorneys) have responded in saying that Ms. Elliot is owed no such money. And so the legal battle goes on. The case is now in pre-trial phase with no trial date set yet.
It’s hard not to speculate, but here is what we do know for sure.
- Farmers Insurance is a SWAC sponsor.
- Farmers Insurance was the title sponsor of the 2009 SWAC football championship game.
- Farmers Insurance was the title sponsor of the 2010 SWAC basketball tournament in Shreveport.
- Eunice Elliot worked with the SWAC office from August, 2008 thru July, 2009.
- The SWAC announced its deal with Farmers Insurance in early September, 2009 (a little over a month after Eunice Elliot left).
So is Duer really capable of stooping so low that he would intentionally delay signing a contract to avoid paying Ms. Elliot for her efforts? We will see.