A judge has paused proceedings in Ole Miss defensive lineman DeSanto Rollins’ lawsuit against the school and head football coach Lane Kiffin.
In the one-page order filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi on Thursday, Magistrate Judge Roy Percy issued a stay in the civil case. The order came a day after Ole Miss and Kiffin filed a motion to dismiss.
“Defendants have filed a motion to dismiss based upon multiple claims including immunity,” Percy wrote. “Consequently, the disclosure requirements and all discovery are hereby stayed, and the case management conference is continued, pending a ruling on the motion to dismiss.”
Rollins is seeking $40 million in damages in a lawsuit that alleged Kiffin was “malicious, intentional, willful, wanton, grossly reckless, and indifferent” to Rollins’ mental health. The lawsuit filed in September alleged Ole Miss violated Rollins’ rights under federal anti-discrimination law.
Rollins remains on scholarship at the school, but has not played this season.
Front Office Sports obtained audio of a March 21 meeting between Rollins and Kiffin, a profanity-laced exchange where Kiffin berated the junior from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
“It’s called being a p—y,” Kiffin said. “It’s called hiding behind s–t, and not showing up to work.”
Warning: Contains strong language. The conversation begins at the 26-second mark.
That meeting followed another between Rollins and Kiffin on Feb. 27, according to the lawsuit. In that exchange, Kiffin told Rollins that he was being moved to the practice squad where he’d play on the offensive line since Rollins chose not to enter the transfer portal.
Rollins told Kiffin “he was going to take a mental health break” at the end of that Feb. 27 meeting, Rollins’ attorney, Carroll Rhodes, wrote in the complaint. Rollins said he was suffering from depression brought on by injuries and the death of his grandmother, who Rollins was alongside when she passed away.
Rollins said he met with Josie Nicholson, Ole Miss’ assistant athletic director for sport psychology, on Feb. 28, and that Nicholson encouraged him to “take a step back from football.”
On March 7, Rollins claims that Nicholson said that Kiffin wanted to meet with Rollins.
“Rollins did not want to meet with him yet because he was not in a good place,” the lawsuit stated.
In the motion to dismiss and the supporting documents that accompanied the filing, Kiffin and Ole Miss included several legal arguments that warranted the case’s dismissal. Those included that Rollins didn’t have standing to sue under the Americans with Disabilities Act and other statutes the lawsuit alleged the school and Kiffin violated.