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WVU files motion to dismiss Big East lawsuit against the school

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One of the primary factors that could play a major role in the ruling/settling in the lawsuits between West Virginia University and the Big East conference is where the suit is filed and tried as WVU attempts to leave the Big East and join the Big 12 by summer of next year. West Virginia’s lawsuit asks that the case be examined in the Circuit Court of Monongalia County (WV); the Big East’s countersuit files their case for the Superior Court of Rhode Island, Providence County — the proximity to Big East headquarters being the reason behind that decision.

Naturally, as this exchange gets uglier, WVU has taken another step to ensure that if there’s any case fought, it’s done in West Virginia. According to documents obtained by the Charleston Gazette, WVU sent a motion to dismiss the Big East’s lawsuit against the school to the Providence County Superior Court, citing four reasons. The three main ones, in summary, are:

1. The Providence County Court lacks jurisdiction over WVU because the institution acts as an agency of the state.

2. Principles of comity require the court to dismiss the lawsuit because of WVU’s sovereign immunity.

3. That the Big East suit involves facts similar to WVU’s lawsuit; basically, it doesn’t need to be filed twice.

To read the entire 133-page document, click HERE. Some of WVU’s initial counts — declaratory judgement, breach of  contract, etc — are reiterated.

The motion also adds that the countersuit “unquestionably place[s] substantial, practical, fiscal and administrative burdens on WVU’s officials, administrators and coaches. Significantly, and distinct from cases involving most other defendants, the expenses associated with this matter are drawn from the State … not from the coffers of a private corporation entity.”

In short, WVU asks that the lawsuit be dismissed “or, in the alternative, stay this action pending resolution of the essentially identical, earlier-filed action brought by the Board of Governors of West Virginia University, currently pending before the Circuit Court of Monongalia County.”

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13 Responses to “WVU files motion to dismiss Big East lawsuit against the school”
  1. wustlumdnj says: Nov 30, 2011 4:06 AM

    The similarities between WVU trying to get out of the BE contract and Richrod trying to get out of his WVU contract get stronger day by day.

    It should be noted that after all the legal posturing, the breech-er of contract in the latter scenario eventually ponied up and played by the rules (Michigan paying Richrod’s buyout).

    It’s just a matter of time (and a couple million in legal fees I imagine) until a similar scenario plays out here

  2. g2-cb062c935798c80963c350f05926653c says: Nov 30, 2011 7:09 AM

    Apples and oranges. Nothing had changed in the terms of DickRod’s conditions of employment with WVU. He just wanted out because it was to his financial advantage, and for no other reason.

    The mass exodus of schools from the Big East (BC, VT, Miami, Pitt, Syracuse) constitutes a major change in the conditions under which WVU entered into the contract, to the extent that WVU’s reasonable expectations under the contract can no longer be met.

    If you lease a Cadillac, and the dealer tries to switch you to a Hyundai midway through the lease, would you feel obligated to accept? Me, neither…

  3. fatcamper says: Nov 30, 2011 7:43 AM

    I haven’t read the agreement or the suit filed by either party. My question is in the agreement did the Big East specifically state the standard they would uphold or was it something WVU is claiming all parties assumed? If there was a standard, which would have a vague definition, is WVU able to prove this standard has been upheld until the recent exodus (after VT and Miami left)? Why now? Convenience.

    My guess is that the Big East lawyers will be able to show that the conference has been in the crapper for a long time. The recent exodus doesn’t change that this isn’t much of a BCS conference and a couple of mediocre schools leaving doesn’t do enough damage for WVU to prove this vague standard has been breached.

    The car analogy doesn’t apply because that contract would specifically state the car you were leasing. The conference’s standard is vague and potentially never discussed. Your analogy is also quite “apples to oranges”

  4. fitz66 says: Nov 30, 2011 7:43 AM

    wustlumdnj – not really? WVU is willing to pay to get out of their contract. RichRod didn’t.

    Simple as that.

  5. wustlumdnj says: Nov 30, 2011 7:51 AM

    fitz66 – if WVU is willing to pay the cost of their breech of contract (which I imagine would be upwards of 50 million, due to the rescheduling of all teams’ schedules, possible loss of BCS AQ bid immediately due to less than 8 members in the conference, and possible complete destruction of the conference), then they should have no problem getting out of it. They are liable for that cost if they violate their contract.

    If they want to pay what they feel like (which I believe is another 5 million) and walk, well, that’s like me saying to verizon, “hey, I know you gave me this free phone for my two year contract, but tell you what, i’m going to give you this twenty dollar bill and we’re going to call it even. K thanks”

  6. fitz66 says: Nov 30, 2011 8:09 AM

    They offered Syracuse and Pitt an exit fee of somewhere around $20-22 million. Soooooo yeah….$50 might be high.

  7. wustlumdnj says: Nov 30, 2011 8:31 AM


    Syracuse and Pitt are honoring their contract, which states 20 million and two years.

    The damages for violating that contract and leaving immediately, which WVU is attempting to do, would be very far in excess of 20 million, and WVU would be liable for said damages. Are you following me? If not, I’m going to restate:

    The deal with Pitt and Syracuse: 20 million and two years
    The deal with WVU: 20 million and two years

  8. fitz66 says: Nov 30, 2011 8:31 AM

    And for the phone analogy, wouldn’t it be more like: ” I want out of this deal and am willing to pay for the phone and the trouble- and by the way, how about giving me the same deal you gave those guys? Well pay that. Btw, you let that one guy (tcu) off the hook for almost nothing.”.

  9. fitz66 says: Nov 30, 2011 8:34 AM

    You need to follow up on the big east deal. It’s 10 mil and 27 months. It’s only upped to $20 mil (recently done after SU and Pitt left) after the BE adds another team to the conference. Wv was working quickly to put on their notice before that.

  10. wustlumdnj says: Nov 30, 2011 8:41 AM

    Alright then, my apologies for lazily using the numbers you had posted above. Amended:

    WVU’s deal is 10 mil and 27 months. If they violate the terms of that contract, they are liable for the damages resulting from that breech of contract. It’s not rocket science.

  11. fitz66 says: Nov 30, 2011 8:55 AM

    Obviously. The deal is $10 million. The buyout that was offered to Pitt/SU was $21 million. WV has said that they’ll pay the $21 million but the Big East wont negotiate that for them.

    This getting back to my original point: This isn’t anything like with RichRod left and refused to pay the buyout.


  12. wvucolumbus says: Nov 30, 2011 12:12 PM

    WVU tactfully has taken to the offensive, as opposed to PITT and Syracuse. I can’t imagine that the university administration would take this pre-emptive movement without having performed due diligence regarding prior precedent/cases of contract litigation.

    My guess? WVU to the Big XII in Summer of 2012 for minimal exit fees. The Big East was sinking with only 6 playing members at the time of announcement.

  13. couchpotato56 says: Nov 30, 2011 12:15 PM

    This is because WVU is more important brand to BE than Pitt and Syracuse. They have not been really relevant in the conference for a while. WVU brand is huge loss for BE.

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