Former state Supreme Court Justice Alan Lawson will represent the ACC in its legal battle with FSU

March 2023 Doak Campbell Stadium, home of Florida State University Football - FSU
FSU's football stadium. Tallahassee, FL. By CRobertson via iStock for WMNF News

©2024 The News Service of Florida

Former state Supreme Court Justice Alan Lawson and other members of his law firm will represent the Atlantic Coast Conference in a high-stakes legal battle with Florida State University.

Lawson, who served on the Supreme Court from 2016 to 2022, and four other members of the Tallahassee-based firm Lawson Huck Gonzalez, PLLC, on Wednesday filed what is known as a notice of appearance in Leon County circuit court.

FSU filed the lawsuit Dec. 22 amid widespread speculation that it wants to leave the Atlantic Coast Conference after more than 30 years as a member.

The dispute focuses on a media-rights deal that will run for another 13 years and on steep costs if FSU wants to exit the conference.

The lawsuit includes challenging a “grant of rights” that FSU and other schools in the conference are tied to in an ESPN contract, which runs through 2036.

FSU alleges, in part, that penalties for leaving the conference are an “unreasonable restraint of trade” under state law.

But ACC leaders issued a statement after the lawsuit was filed that said FSU’s move was “in direct conflict with their long standing obligations and is a clear violation of their legal commitments to the other members of the conference.”

Lawson is a graduate of FSU’s law school, according to biographical information on his firm’s website.

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