The Washington Post

ACC’s motion to dismiss Maryland lawsuit scheduled for hearing next week

Next week might bring some clarity to the legal battle between Maryland and the ACC.

If you recall, in November the ACC filed suit against Maryland in Greensboro, N.C., saying the school is bound by the conference’s bylaws to pay an exit fee — roughly $52 million —  in order to join the Big Ten. But in January, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler moved to dismiss the ACC’s lawsuit in Prince George’s County Circuit Court, saying “a North Carolina court has no jurisdiction over the sovereign state of Maryland and its public universities,” according to a news release.

The ACC has moved to dismiss that counter-suit and, according to an e-mail sent by the Maryland Office of the Attorney General on Friday afternoon, its arguments will be heard next Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in Upper Marlboro.

The ACC’s motion to dismiss, according to a legal brief provided to The Post, claims that antitrust allegations from the plaintiffs — listed as Maryland’s Board of Regents and the University of Maryland College Park — are “unconstitutional” and in violation of the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

“Courts routinely find collegiate sports leagues like the ACC to be unique commercial actors whose very nature means that their internal governance issues be regulated uniformly on a national basis if these leagues are to exist at all,” the ACC’s motion reads. “For this reason, plaintiffs’ antitrust claim should be dismissed because it would unduly burden the ACC’s interstate activities in violation of the Commerce Clause.”

The motion also argues that, because the ACC already filed suit in North Carolina, the counter-suit filed in Maryland by Gansler should be dismissed or at least stayed pending resolution of the North Carolina suit.

In February, Guilford County Superior Court Judge John O. Craig III denied Maryland’s motion to dismiss the ACC’s lawsuit. But on April 18, North Carolina Court of Appeals clerk John H. Connell allowed a writ of supersedeas, essentially allowing Maryland to appeal Craig’s decision, in an order obtained by The Post.

Now, the ACC’s motion to dismiss the Maryland counter-lawsuit will be heard in Upper Marlboro on Thursday.

So basically everyone’s filing lawsuits, and everyone wants those lawsuits dismissed. We’ll know a little more next Thursday.



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Alex Prewitt · May 17, 2013