ACC vs. Maryland legal skirmish can be heard in NC court

ablythe@newsobserver.comNovember 19, 2013 

— The ACC can take its legal skirmish against the University of Maryland to its home courts.

The N.C. Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday the North Carolina courts are the proper place for a lawsuit of a $52million exit fee the ACC contends Maryland owes as it departs for the Big Ten.

A three-judge panel – Judges Chris Dillon, Sam Ervin IV and R.N. Hunter Jr. – issued its ruling Tuesday.

In court documents in North Carolina and Maryland, Maryland has argued the fee is excessive and was arrived at outside the bounds of conference rules, and has refused to pay.

The ACC contends the fee was approved by 10 of the 12 conference members – Maryland and Florida State opposed setting a departure fee at nearly three times the conference’s operating budget – and has withheld more than a fifth of the sum from disbursements owed to Maryland.

Tuesday’s unanimous ruling came nearly two months after the N.C. Court of Appeals weighed whether the legal contest should be in North Carolina or Maryland.

ACC attorneys contended North Carolina, the birthplace of the 60-year-old conference, is the proper place for sorting out what they describe as a “contract dispute.”

The Maryland Board of Regents had asked for the case to be dismissed in North Carolina with hopes a home crowd in the Maryland courts would settle the spat.

A Maryland judge put the lawsuit there on hold this summer until the North Carolina courts ruled on the proper venue.

Blythe: 919-836-4948

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