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.”