ACC's lawsuit against Florida State halted after North Carolina judge issues a stay in the case

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — The Atlantic Coast Conference’s lawsuit against member school Florida State has come to a temporary halt.

North Carolina Chief Business Court Judge Louis Bledsoe III handed down a ruling Friday that puts a stay on all discovery and further court-related work on the case while FSU appeals to the North Carolina Supreme Court. The school is appealing Bledsoe’s earlier ruling that denied the school’s motion to dismiss the case.

Florida State has yet to actually file the case with the NC Supreme Court, but lawyers have indicated that is in their intent.

“Under North Carolina law, the longstanding general rule is that an appeal divests the trial court of jurisdiction over a case until the appellate court returns its mandate,” Bledsoe wrote in his ruling on Friday. “The lower court only retains jurisdiction to take action which aids the appeal and to hear motions and grant orders that do not concern the subject matter of the suit and are not affected by the judgment that has been appealed.”

Florida State is challenging the conference’s exit fees and the validity of a grant-of-rights agreement that binds league members together through their media rights.

That grant of rights runs through 2036 as part of the league’s contract with ESPN, which ultimately launched the ACC Network in 2019.

Florida State claims the deal doesn’t compare to what schools in other conferences are making and that it would cost $572 million to exit the conference. The school feels that puts them in danger of not being able to compete with Big Ten and SEC schools because of the growing revenue gap.


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