Real Salt Lake filed for the dismissal of the lawsuit brought against the club by former coach Mike Petke, per a motion filed Monday in Utah’s 3rd District Court.
The motion argues that Petke’s conflict with RSL over his firing and the remaining money on his contract should be arbitrated between him, the club and Major League Soccer commissioner Don Garber based on a stipulation in the league’s bylaws.
“Petke is contractually bound to arbitrate his dispute with RSL,” the motion states. “The MLS Commissioner is aware of this lawsuit, has asked Petke to withdraw his Complaint, and is prepared to arbitrate Petke’s claims. RSL respectfully asks the Court to compel arbitration before the MLS Commissioner and dismiss this lawsuit, or in the alternative, stay this action.”
Petke filed the lawsuit about a month after his firing. He alleged RSL violated the terms of an agreement signed by him and the club that would allow him to continue coaching after this two-week suspension was over. Instead, the club fired him the day before his suspension was scheduled to be lifted.
RSL claims Petke’s lawsuit was a “publicity stunt” orchestrated to “bully RSL into accepting Petke’s demand to continue paying his salary in full notwithstanding the termination.” The club also alleges that during a meeting on Sept. 16, Petke and his lawyers threatened to file the lawsuit and make the dispute between the former coach and the club public unless RSL agreed to continue paying his salary by 4 p.m. that same day.
RSL told Petke it could not make the 4 p.m. deadline and was given until noon the following day, despite asking for an additional week, the motion states.
The motion to dismiss wasn’t the only filing made to the court Monday. Petke’s lawyers also issued a subpoena to former RSL general manager Craig Waibel, who parted ways with the club in the aftermath of the lawsuit, which claims he criticized RSL owner Dell Loy Hansen for the way he handled Petke’s firing.
Waibel has been asked to appear in court, testify and produce any and all documents pertaining to Petke, RSL, the July 24 Leagues Cup match between RSL and Tigres UANL, Petke’s firing, Waibel’s departure as GM and other topics. The subpoena also asks Waibel to provide audiotapes of any communication with Petke, RSL or Hansen.