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Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Coaches teaching civ pro

I still am trying to get more legally oriented reports and documents, but it appears that the breach-of-contract dispute between the University of Kentucky and former men's basketball coach Billy Gillespie is going to turn into another object lesson in civ pro.

In July, Gillespie sued the University of Kentucky Athletics Association in federal court in Texas (where, presumably, Gillespie moved after he was fired). The Association has moved to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction, as well as (I would guess) improper venue or to transfer venue to the District of Kentucky.

Meanwhile, the University then sued Gillespie in state court in Kentucky and Gillespie has removed the case to federal district court in Kentucky, apparently on diversity grounds. This sets us up for a replay of the jurisdictional dispute between West Virginia University and its former football coach, Rich Rodriguez. WVU sued in state court to collect on a liquidated damages clause and Rodriguez removed; WVU moved to remand, arguing that as a state university, it was an arm of the State of West Virginia and not a citizen of the State for purposes of diversity jurisdiction in federal district court. The federal court agreed and remanded.

This same sequence could be repeated here. The outcome will depend on whether the University or the UK Athletics Association (an adjunct to the University established by the state to govern the university's intercollegiate athletics) is the plaintiff and whether either or both are deemed arms of the state.


His last name is spelled "Gillispie."

Blogger Will -- 9/15/2009 10:38 PM  

Very interesting blog and comments. Very interesting angle to take at the world of sports. I look forward to reading more of this. Thanks!!

Anonymous John -- 9/16/2009 12:07 AM  


I'm not sure if you've found the complaints filed by Gillispie and the University in their respective cases yet, but if you haven't, they are both linked in the post below:

Meanwhile, the Lexington Herald-Leader ( seems to be doing the best job of tracking the litigation, including making publicly posting some court documents on their website (including the two complaints linked in the post above).

Blogger Nathaniel Grow -- 9/16/2009 2:02 PM  

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