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Judge in Florida Denies ACC’s Motion to Dismiss Florida State University (FSU) Lawsuit

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On April 9th, 2024, ESPN reported that a judge in Florida denied a motion to dismiss filed by the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC). As such the Florida State University (FSU) lawsuit filed in the state—which is running concurrently to the ACC’s lawsuit against FSU in North Carolina—will be allowed to proceed. The court also denied the ACC’s motion to say the matter. In doing so, the judge stated that the ACC was engaged in “forum shopping.” Here, our West Palm Beach commercial litigation attorney discusses the case and the decision.

Background: ACC and FSU Locked in Dispute Over School’s Contract to Stay in Conference 

The dispute between Florida State University (FSU) and the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) centers on FSU’s planned exit from the conference—the substantial financial penalties that could be imposed if it does so. FSU is challenging the ACC’s Grant of Rights agreement, which binds member schools to the conference through their media rights until 2036. For its part, FSU argues that the exit fees—which are nearly $575 million—are excessive and unenforceable. For its part, the ACC argues that FSU must remain in the conference or pay the full early termination fee. There are two concurrent lawsuits related to this case. The ACC filed a lawsuit in North Carolina. The FSU filed another lawsuit in Florida.

Significant Legal Development: Florida Court Will Not Dismiss FSU Lawsuit

 A Florida judge recently rejected the ACC’s motion to stay Florida State’s lawsuit against the conference. This decision in Leon County—which was made by Judge John C. Cooper—keeps FSU’s legal challenge active. The case in Florida will continue to move forward despite a North Carolina court allowing a parallel lawsuit by the ACC to proceed. Notably, FSU has already appealed the North Carolina state court decision.

The ACC Wanted to Court in Florida to At Least Pause FSU’s Lawsuit 

During the court proceedings in Leon County, the ACC argued for pausing the Florida case as the North Carolina lawsuit continues, but Judge Cooper disagreed. He scheduled further hearings for April 22—which will include discussions on the ACC’s motion to dismiss the entire lawsuit in Florida. There are many additional issues that need to be addressed as part of the litigation.

The multi-million dollar contract litigation is already extremely complicated—with similar lawsuits proceeding in two different jurisdictions. The matter is about to get even more challenging. Clemson is filing another lawsuit against the ACC in a state court in South Carolina. Similar to FSU, Clemson wants out of its contract with the ACC early without paying the full early termination fee.

Contact Our Florida Breach of Contract Attorney Today for a Confidential Consultation

At Pike & Lustig, LLP, we have the professional expertise to take on complex breach of contract cases. If you have any questions or concerns about a breach of contract dispute, we are here as a legal resource that you can trust. Contact us today for a completely confidential initial appointment. Our firm provides commercial litigation services throughout Southeast Florida.



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