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Parents Sue High School Coaches

People walk around the fishing village of Naknek, Alaska,
AP
As the head baseball coach at Corona Del Mar High School in Newport Beach, Calif., John Emme tries to motivate his players from the side lines. But lately his coaching has put him in the legal spotlight -- he's been sued by an angry parent who claims Emme spoiled his son's chances for big league play.

The case centers around student J.D. Martinez, reports CBS News Correspondent Sandra Hughes. His father claims Emme made Martinez pitch too much. Dr. Marc Martinez says when he threatened to go to the school district with his complaints, "(Emme responded) 'if you do that I'm going to keep your son from playing college baseball' -- he actually said 'I'm going to close the door on J.D. playing baseball in college.'"

Martinez sued and pulled his son off the team. The father explains, "We just wanted to hold him accountable for what he was threatening to do: keep J.D. from playing college baseball."

So-called "disappointment lawsuits" have been on the rise for years. From cheerleading and football to basketball and baseball, more and more parents are taking their kids' coaches to court.

Prof. Bob Jarvis of Nova Southeastern University says, "When you look at someone like Lebron James getting $90 million before he's played a single professional game, you can't help as a parent to start to think about, 'Well, maybe my child can get in on this gravy train.'"

Legal experts say the cases rarely succeed in court. But they are having an effect: high schools are finding it harder to recruit coaches, who fear they may be targeted by a disgruntled parent.

And coaches like Ryan Curry, a basketball coach at Corona Del Mar, say his job description has already changed. "I think it makes you question whether or not your job is to help high school kids be successful and have a great high school career or it's to help high school kids get into college and have a great college career," he says.

J.D. Martinez went on to college, but not as a baseball player.

Emme says, "His classmates won a league championship and that's something you cherish forever and unfortunately in this whole deal, really the only victim's him."