Jurors resumed deliberations Wednesday in the trial of former USC assistant football coach Todd McNair’s defamation lawsuit against the NCAA, a day after telling the judge they were divided 8-4.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Frederick Shaller explained to the panelists that they should not speculate why McNair’s claims for breach of contract and negligence are no longer in the case, a question that was raised Tuesday by the foreman when he announced that the jury was at an impasse.
Prior to the start of deliberations, McNair’s attorneys voluntarily dropped those two claims, leaving defamation as the only allegation to be decided.
The judge has not asked the jurors which way the majority is leaning. He also told the lawyers they should consider if they would accept an 8-4 verdict in place of the typical minimum 9-3 split needed.
McNair’s lawyer, Bruce Broillet, said that if the impasse continues, the judge may want to ask how many questions on the verdict form have been answered and whether further arguments by attorneys could help the jury.
Broillet said it is premature to give jurors the so-called Allen instruction, often called the “dynamite charge,” a special instruction given to encourage deadlocked juries to reach an agreement, since they reported their impasse only a day earlier.
McNair spent six seasons at USC coaching Trojan running backs under former head coach Pete Carroll. But his contract was not renewed after the NCAA alleged in a report that McNair knew about star player Reggie Bush’s relationship with two sports agents, San Diego sports marketers Lloyd Lake and Michael Michaels, who were providing Bush with benefits, according to his lawsuit.
McNair received a show-cause penalty from the NCAA, meaning that he had to receive permission from the NCAA for any recruiting he did for one year.
McNair, who filed his lawsuit in June 2011, maintains that he was unaware of Bush’s relationship between Lake and Michaels and that the NCAA committed misconduct in its investigation.
The NCAA’s court papers say McNair’s statements were contradicted by Lake.
— City News Service
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