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Knoxville attorney: words in Pruitt’s demand letter don’t have to be true to be legal

University of Tennessee fired head coach Jeremy Pruitt in January of 2021 for cause, according to university officials.
Pruitt fired in January of 2021
Pruitt fired in January of 2021(WVLT)
Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 11:12 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -Due to NCAA violations, the University of Tennessee fired head coach Jeremy Pruitt in January of 2021, according to university officials. Since the firing was for cause, Pruitt wasn’t able to collect the remaining $12.6 million remaining in his contract.

Pruitt’s attorney Michael Lyons filed a demand letter to UT saying that if a settlement isn’t reached, Pruitt and his attorney will release information that reflect negatively upon the university. WVLT contributor and ESPN reporter Chris Low said that Lyons alleged in his letter that the university covered up multiple NCAA violations before and during Pruitt’s time as a coach and threatened that a future lawsuit “could ensnare the parties for years to come, impugn the university’s reputation further, and potentially cripple UT’s athletic programs for years,” according to Low.

Knoxville attorney Jed McKeehan, said the demand letter is a common and weekly occurrence for attorneys. When it comes to the content of Lyons’ demand letter and the accusatory language in it, McKeehan said it can say anything under the law.

“It doesn’t necessarily have to be truthful. Everything in that letter could have been made up and there’s no repercussions for that it’s just a demand letter,” said McKeehan. He went on to say that the same can be said if this ultimately goes to a lawsuit.

In the demand letter, Lyons said that the university has by Oct. 29, to settle or else they will file a lawsuit.

Some fans told WVLT News that there’s no weight behind the claims of any further wrongdoing by the university.

“I think what happened was solely on him,” said one UT student.

Some students think Pruitt is bluffing while others believed Pruitt is telling the truth.

“I think that Jeremy Pruitt knows a lot about the program and has some insights about some possible corruption that’s going on,” said another student.

While fans jockey with the idea of what to believe in Lyons letter, McKeehan doesn’t fault Pruitt’s attorney for filing it.

“Look it’s never a bad idea for a lawyer to send a demand letter especially if you think it may end the case right here and now. It may be for a little bit of money it may be for a lot of money. So that attorney has done his job” said McKeehan.

McKeehan said he wouldn’t be surprised if Lyons filed a lawsuit since UT didn’t seem inclined to settle in their response to Lyons.

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