Cottrell Attorney Will Appeal Ruling

A despondent Tommy Gallion lashed out in many different directions Thursday, and promised to appeal Judge Steve Wilson's decision to toss out major portions of Ronnie Cottrell and Ivy Williams' case against the NCAA and two of its employees, Rich Johanningmeier and Thomas Yaeger.

"He left us with nothing in the case to go with," Gallion said. "He gutted the case. I'm having a hard time making any sense of it. How could Ronnie Cottrell be a public figure and Ivy Williams not be?"

"I'm not saying this judge didn't do what he thinks is right, I just can't figure out his order," Gallion said.

The judge's decision dismissed all claims of defamation by Cottrell against the NCAA. Ivy Williams defamation claims against the NCAA and Cottrell's claims of defamation against Tom Culpepper are the only claims that remain in the case.

"We'll be doing the best we can. The strong case was Ronnie Cottrell's case," Gallion said.

The trial is still scheduled to begin on Monday, but it will certainly be on a smaller scale.

"I'm going to go up there and go through the motions," Gallion said.

"I'm not throwing in the towel. I will appeal and if we lose on appeal, then that's it. We feel confident we'll win on appeal."

Gallion continued to deride the University of Alabama for its stance on the case. Gallion said the University refused to waive its attorney-client privilege for Rich Hilliard, who he said had agreed to help Cottrell's case.

"My own school is what's fighting me the whole time," he said. "To know we had beurocracts up there fighting us all they way-- they can deny it if they want to."

In addition to ruling that Cottrell is a limited purpose public figure, Wilson said in his ruling that there was no admissable evidence that would allow Cottrell to prove the higher burden of malice by the NCAA that is required for public figures.

The ruling reasoned that Alabama football recruiting is a matter of public interest, and because of Cottrell's position as recruiting coordinator, he was a public figure.

The ruling cited the fact that Cottrell had his own golf tournament, and that former Southeastern Conference commissioner Roy Kramer told Cottrell he would be subject to public scrutiny.


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