Morning Anchor/Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/StacyMoniotWBOY12News Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/StacyMoniotWBOY Stacy joined WBOY in July 2009 as a Morgantown reporter/anchor.
A Rhode Island judge ruled Tuesday to keep the lawsuit filed by the Big East Conference against West Virginia University alive in that state.
Judge Michael Silverstein dismissed WVU's motion to dismiss the case there on all counts.
WVU argued that the Rhode Island court does not have jurisdiction over the matter, but Silverstein discussed a "long arm" provision of Rhode Island law that gives the state the authority to rule over foreign corporations.
"It is evident to this Court that WVU, for all intents and purposes, is a corporation," Silverstein wrote in his decision.
WVU also tried to argue that they were not given due process when the Big East filed the suit, but Silverstein struck down that argument as well.
The third major contention was that WVU is an "arm of the state" and as such has sovereign immunity from prosecution by other states. Silverstein ruled that entities only have sovereign immunity in other states if there is such an agreement between the states, and West Virginia and Rhode Island have none.
"It is clear to this Court that while Rhode Island may apply any sovereign immunity afforded to WVU under West Virginia law, this Court is under no obligation to do so."
WVU also argued that the Big East lawsuit should be dismissed because the same issues were already before a court in West Virginia. Silverstein admits that Rhode Island courts usually stay or dismiss cases if there is already an action filed, but cites an exception to "anticipatory actions."
"In fact, that very complaint filed by WVU indicates that it expects the Big East will seek to enforce the Bylaws," the judgement reads.
WVU sued the conference for an early out in Monongalia County Circuit Court just four days before the Big East sued to keep the university in for the full 27 months laid out in the conference bylaws.
Judge Russell Clawges is presiding over the West Virginia case, and he recently denied a motion by the Big East to dismiss the case there.
Silverstein has not yet ruled on whether the university should continue playing in the conference until the legal matter is settled.
Clawges will rule on whether West Virginia is the proper venue for the matter after the New Year.