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Arbitration clause leads to dismissal of Sarkisian lawsuit

Steve Sarkisian has had his share of criticism over the past few years. From the University of Alabama's loss in the 2017 National Championship to the Atlanta Falcons' recent debacle in New England, he has been questioned about his play-calling ability. Perhaps the most infamous moment of Sarkisian's career came when he was abruptly fired as the head coach of the USC Trojans.

Sarkisian was fired in October 2015, just a day after it was announced that he would take a leave of absence to seek treatment for alcoholism. The firing came after months of speculation after Sarkisian appeared to be under the influence of alcohol at a pre-season event.

In December 2015, Sarkisian sued USC, claiming that he was not given a fair opportunity to deal with his disability. He sought the $12.6 million remaining on his contract, as well as unspecified damages. However, an arbitration clause in his contract required any disputes to be resolved through binding arbitration instead of in a court of law. A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge dismissed the suit because of it.

Some in the entertainment industry may not understand the extent of arbitration agreements, but they are critical in contracts. Indeed, they provide a streamlined course of action to resolve disputes, but the rules that apply to the arbitration can very complicated and put a party at a disadvantage if not interpreted correctly. This is why an experienced entertainment law attorney is essential in reviewing contracts so that proper expectations can be set.

The preceding is not legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only.

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