Gillispie wants suit in federal court

jhewlett@herald-leader.comSeptember 15, 2009 

Former University of Kentucky men's basketball coach Billy Gillispie has asked that a lawsuit UK filed against him in Franklin Circuit Court be moved to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky in Frankfort.

At issue in the case is whether a "memorandum of understanding" signed by Gillispie and Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart constitutes a formal contract and whether UK owes Gillispie $6 million under that agreement. Gillispie was fired in March, two years into a seven-year deal to coach the UK men's team.

UK asked a Franklin Circuit judge in May to decide the issue. UK's lawsuit came a day after Gillispie sued the UK Athletics Association in federal district court in Dallas, alleging breach of contract and fraud.

UK maintained that, among other things, Gillispie's federal suit in Dallas was filed against the wrong entity. The UK Athletics Association, UK attorneys argued, was not Gillispie's employer.

In the "notice of filing of removal," Gillispie maintains that because of the diversity of the citizenship of the parties involved in the dispute — UK and the UK Athletics Association are Kentucky-based entities, while Gillispie says he is a Texas resident — the UK suit against him needs to be handled in federal, and not circuit, court in Frankfort.

Gillispie also maintains in the document that the case should be handled in the Frankfort federal court because of the amount of money involved in the controversy.

Reach Jennifer Hewlett at (859) 231-3308 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3308.

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