Leon County Judge Officially Denies ACC's Motion To Stay In FSU Legal Battle

This filing follows Judge John C. Cooper's ruling last month.
Apr 20, 2024; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Hykeem Williams (8)
Apr 20, 2024; Tallahassee, Florida, USA; Florida State Seminoles wide receiver Hykeem Williams (8) / Melina Myers-USA TODAY Sports

Leon County Judge John C. Cooper has officially filed his denial of the Atlantic Coast Conference’s (ACC) motion to stay in the legal battle against Florida State University. Late last month, the same judge granted the Conference’s motion to dismiss but with prejudice – allowing FSU to refile.

Judge Cooper – a Florida State graduate with a B.A. and a J.D. from the University – favored the notion on April 9 that under broad Florida public record laws, documents such as the hotly contested ESPN and ACC contract should be open to viewership in the state, but not necessarily other states such as North Carolina (where the ACC first filed suit).

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That being said, Judge Cooper brought up the issue of “forum shopping” multiple times as the conference filed an anticipatory suit the day before FSU filed suit. Forum shopping is the practice of filing suit in a desirable court to gain an advantage according to that jurisdiction’s laws.

In the filing, Judge Cooper wrote, "I find based on the record and within the Court's discretion that there are additional (and in fact extraordinary) circumstances warranting denial of the requested stay. Specifically, I find the North Carolina action to be an 'anticipatory filing' done in express anticipation of the FSU Board's lawsuit in Florida, and that the anticipatory filing is in the nature of forum shopping that cannot be supported with a stay of these proceedings."

Furthermore, he mentioned that since the conference brought forth their suit in North Carolina, it does not "tip the balance in favor of a stay."

"In addition, the North Carolina action was brought in a foreign state against a Florida sovereign entity - another additional (and in fact extraordinary) circumstance. Finally, I find that other factors, such as locations of witnesses and evidence and applicable law, do not tip the balance in favor of a stay."

From the Florida State perspective, FSU attorney Peter Rush at the time argued that despite the initial $572 million estimate it would take for the University to leave the conference and retain its media rights, it would cost closer to $700 million. Therefore, according to Rush, the decision regarding this case should come from the Sunshine State.

“This is Florida State’s money. This is Florida State’s team. This is Florida State’s media rights,” said Rush.

This is a developing story.

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Stick with NoleGameday for more coverage of Florida State University throughout its ongoing legal battle with the ACC.

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Jackson Bakich


Born in Orlando but raised in Lake County, Florida, Jackson Bakich is currently a senior at Florida State University. Growing up in the Sunshine State, Bakich co-hosted the political talk radio show "Lake County Roundtable" (WLBE) and was a frequent guest for "Lake County Sports Show" (WQBQ). Currently, he is the Sports Editor of the FSView and host of "Tomahawk Talk" (WVFS), a sports talk radio program covering Florida State athletics in Tallahassee.