Leon County Judge Sides With Florida State, Denies ACC's Multiple Motions To Dismiss

The legal battle is fast approaching the sixth-month mark.
Florida State University Athletic Director Michael Alford poses for a portrait before kickoff of the game between the Seminoles and the Clemson Tigers at Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022.

Alford005
Florida State University Athletic Director Michael Alford poses for a portrait before kickoff of the game between the Seminoles and the Clemson Tigers at Doak Campbell Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 15, 2022. Alford005 / Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat / USA

In what appears to be a never-ending saga, the Atlantic Coast Conference journeyed to Leon County Court in Tallahassee for the latest hearing between the aforementioned party and Florida State University. FSU sued the ACC in late December.

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During this hearing, Leon County Judge John C. Cooper denied the ACC’s motion to dismiss of three counts. The first of the three counts was the notion that FSU could not bring suit against the ACC in Florida. Judge Cooper initially granted this motion to dismiss this count with prejudice, allowing FSU to refile with the ability to amend its complaints.

The school wrote in its second amended complaint in May:

“FSU and the ACC argue this dispute is now very simple. The Court need only construe two contract provisions from two separate contracts to resolve it. First, under the Grant of Rights, whether the media rights to FSU’s home games after it leaves the ACC are ‘necessary’ for the ACC ‘to perform’ its ‘contractual obligations’ under the ESPN Agreement. Second, under Article 1.4.5 of the ACC Constitution, whether the self-described ‘liquidated damages’ ‘withdrawal payment’ ($140 million) is a penalty. Fortunately, the ACC concedes both,” the amendment stated.

Furthermore, Judge Cooper denied the ACC’s motions to dismiss counts two and three which included complaints surrounding the unenforceability of the $140 million exit fee and the notion that the ACC failed to follow its own bylaws, respectively.

However, according to Matt Baker of the Tampa Bay Times, the biggest head-turning moment came when Judge Cooper “emphasized the importance of mediation.” This is not the first time that the judge has brought it up in court.

“I know there is a possibility you might not settle,” Cooper said. “But sometimes mediations start a process that can ultimately lead to a settlement.”

As chatter surrounding the ACC and FSU continues to turn into rumblings, a settlement from mediation seems more and more likely.

This is a developing story.


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Jackson Bakich

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.