The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

June 19, 2013

Hearing delayed in Gundy, contractor suit

By Chris Day, CNHI News Service
CNHI

STILLWATER, Okla. — It’s the case of contractor and the coach.

On March 21, 2011, trim carpenter Brent Lee Loveland of Choctaw wore a gray shirt with red lettering that read “Oklahoma Baseball” to Oklahoma State University football coach Mike Gundy’s home, which was under construction near Stillwater.

Gundy and his wife, Kristen, found the shirt offensive and the OSU coach fired Loveland on the spot.

Loveland filed a breach of contract lawsuit in August 2011 against the Gundys in Payne County District Court.

A pretrial hearing scheduled Monday in Logan County has been delayed until July 29 or 30, Loveland’s attorney Edward White of Edmond said Wednesday.

At that hearing, Associate District Judge Louis Duel is expected to rule on the Gundys’ attorney William Baker’s request for a summary judgment and White’s renewed request to move the trial to Logan County because of pretrial publicity and the fervor of Cowboy fans in Payne County.

The request for summary judgment was filed June 14. The change of venue request was filed Monday.

Loveland claims in the lawsuit he would have been paid $80,600 to install trim at Gundy’s house over a 13-week period starting March 2011. He also states he lost more than $30,000 in additional income because he rejected other work offers.

White argues in his venue change request the decisions by three judges to not serve as trial judge creates an opportunity to move the trial to Logan County, which will be convenient because most of the witnesses live in Oklahoma and Payne counties. Logan County is located between the two counties.

Portions of depositions by Loveland, Gundy and homebuilder Todd Kraybill were released with Baker’s request for summary judgment.

In his deposition, Loveland testified Gundy cursed and called him an idiot for wearing an “Oklahoma Baseball” shirt to work on his home. The shirt offended Gundy’s wife.

Loveland called Gundy’s outburst a “tirade of epic proportions” in his deposition.

When asked by Gundy’s attorney what he meant, Loveland said, “That he went off on a rant and all he could see was the shirt I had on and it was offending him on OSU soil is what — as he put it.”

Loveland testified he knew Gundy was football coach for Oklahoma State University and the university was located in Stillwater and Payne County.

In his deposition, Kraybill, the Stillwater homebuilder, stated Loveland was to be paid on an hourly basis. Loveland wanted to be paid weekly.

Kraybill testified he told Loveland before the Gundys arrived the “Oklahoma Baseball” shirt would create problems.

“He said, ‘Mike and Kristen are on their way out here and they’re not going to appreciate the fact that you have that shirt on,” Kraybill testified.

Portions of Gundy’s deposition also were included in the court record. Gundy testified Loveland’s employment was based on an hourly wage and his work would be evaluated daily to determine if he should continue working on the job.

“The discussion I had with him was that he wanted to be paid weekly. ... The agreement that we had was that — that we would evaluate him day-to-day on his work and that it was — I think he wanted $6,000 a week, something like that,” Gundy said.