Court Preserves Lawsuit Over Maryland Leaving ACC - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Court Preserves Lawsuit Over Maryland Leaving ACC

Posted:

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)- A North Carolina appeals court Tuesday preserved a lawsuit that could force the University of Maryland to pay a $52 million fee for leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference.
 
The ACC sued Maryland after the school said last November it was leaving for the Big Ten Conference. That lawsuit came after the ACC voted to increase the exit penalty to three times the conference's operating budget, which the appeals court calculated at nearly $52.3 million.
 
A state Court of Appeals panel rejected Maryland's bid to dismiss the lawsuit. It was filed in Greensboro, where the ACC is headquartered. The three-judge panel's unanimous decision means Maryland has no automatic right to a state Supreme Court appeal. But the higher state court could choose to hear an appeal.
 
The $52 million fee is the highest penalty ever assessed on a school for leaving an athletic conference and would be nearly equal to the school's yearly athletic budget, Maryland's attorney general's office said in May. The school's athletic department last year cut seven sports teams as it struggled with multimillion-dollar annual losses.
 
Maryland's representative on the ACC's Council of Presidents, which has the authority to alter the conference's governing constitution, voted against increasing the penalty from what the court calculated would have been a fee of about $17.4 million.
 
Despite Maryland's negative vote on increasing the exit fee, "each member, including the University of Maryland, has agreed to be bound by the vote of the Council," Judge Robert N. Hunter Jr. wrote in the appeals court's decision.
 
The university sued the ACC in Maryland in January, calling the amount an illegal penalty. A Maryland judge has put the school's lawsuit on hold until North Carolina courts issue a final judgment. Maryland's ACC departure is scheduled for July.
 
Maryland's attorneys argued in the North Carolina lawsuit that the ACC's lawsuit should be dismissed because the school is an arm of the state, and Maryland and other states enjoy sovereign immunity that protects them from lawsuits. North Carolina's Court of Appeals rejected that argument, saying it doesn't apply to the ACC's claim that the penalty is due because Maryland broke its contract.
 
North Carolina's courts don't allow state officials to claim they don't have to respect contracts, so the sovereign immunity claim "will not be extended to allow defendants to escape a determination as to their rights and obligations under an alleged contract," Hunter wrote.
 
Maryland officials were considering their options after Tuesday's ruling, said David Paulson, a spokesman for Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler. University representatives did not return messages seeking comment.

  • Delmarvawide NewsDelmarvawide NewsMore>>

  • Fire at Berlin Main Street Restaurant

    Fire at Berlin Main Street Restaurant

    Thursday, April 24 2014 12:58 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:58:34 GMT
    BERLIN, Md. – The manager of Siculi Rustic Italian Restaurant said a small fire started in the kitchen of the restaurant, which is located on Main Street.More
    The manager of Siculi Rustic Italian Restaurant on Main Street in Berlin says a small fire started in the kitchen late Thursday morning.More
  • Delmar Man Gets 75 Years for Murder

    Delmar Man Gets 75 Years for Murder

    Thursday, April 24 2014 12:07 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:07:17 GMT
    A Delmar man convicted of second-degree murder in connection with a fatal shooting that occurred last year was sentenced to 75 years in prison Thursday, according to the Wicomico County State's Attorney's Office.More
    A Delmar man convicted of second-degree murder in connection with a fatal shooting that occurred last year was sentenced to 75 years in prison Thursday, according to the Wicomico County State's Attorney's Office. More
  • Suspects Arrested in Connection to Rehoboth Purse Snatching

    Suspects Arrested in Connection to Rehoboth Purse Snatching

    Thursday, April 24 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-24 16:05:23 GMT
    Delaware State Police have arrested two people in connection with a purse snatching at the Outlets in Rehoboth Beach.More
    Delaware State Police have arrested two people in connection with a purse snatching at the Outlets in Rehoboth Beach.More
Powered by WorldNow

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WBOC. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service