Prince George’s County judge stays decision in Maryland v. ACC

The legal battle between the University of Maryland and the Atlantic Coast Conference received little clarity Friday, when a Prince George’s County judge stayed Maryland’s lawsuit against the conference. The suit was not dismissed, but a decision won’t come until a ruling is made in the ACC’s suit over Maryland’s exit fee, filed in North Carolina.

Judge John Paul Davey, however, did write that the two cases should not proceed simultaneously “to avoid unnecessary expenses and the potential for inconsistent determinations of fact and law,” which the ACC had previously argued.

“A stay,” Davey wrote in the 36-page opinion, “will avoid potential conflict while preserving the claims of all parties involved.”

Following the decision, the Maryland attorney general’s office issued a statement.

“There is a case in Maryland and we are reviewing the court’s ruling and our options as we go forward,” a spokesman said.

Davey also dismissed an antitrust claim, one of Maryland’s counts in its lawsuit against the ACC, based on the court’s findings that “by Maryland’s own admissions and actions, its freedom to associate with various conferences has not been impeded by the Withdrawal Payment and, in fact, publically declares. the financial benefit of joining the Big Ten Conference.”

He kept Maryland’s remaining three counts intact, but stayed them.

The waiting game continues in a suit expected to drag out for some time. Last November, following Maryland’s announced move to the Big Ten, the ACC asked a North Carolina court to enforce the exit fee. In January, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler moved to dismiss the ACC’s lawsuit in Prince George’s County Circuit Court. Accordingly, the ACC filed a similar motion for dismissal, the motion dealt with Friday.

The hearing was held on May 23. 

Alex Prewitt covers the Washington Capitals. Follow him on Twitter @alex_prewitt or email him at alex.prewitt@washpost.com.
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