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KSR, Matt Jones call for dismissal of lawsuit filed by referee who received death threats

Kentucky head coach John Calipari argued a call with referee John Higgins in the first half of the South Regional final game against North Carolina in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Memphis, Tenn., on March 26.
Kentucky head coach John Calipari argued a call with referee John Higgins in the first half of the South Regional final game against North Carolina in the NCAA college basketball tournament in Memphis, Tenn., on March 26. AP

Kentucky Sports Radio’s Matt Jones and Drew Franklin are seeking the dismissal of a lawsuit filed by referee John Higgins in the aftermath of the Kentucky Wildcats’ Elite Eight loss during March Madness.

The lawsuit accuses the two of egging on the harassment of Higgins, who was part of the officiating crew when UK lost to North Carolina.

After the two-point UK loss, many, including Kentucky Coach John Calipari, criticized the officiating of the game, according to court documents.

The lawsuit was filed in Nebraska in October by Higgins, his wife and Weatherguard, Higgins’ roofing business. It accuses Kentucky Sports Radio, and Jones and Franklin specifically, of sharing Higgins’ contact information and enticing fans to use it, according to court documents.

In the days after the game, Higgins’ voicemail, business Facebook page and business reviews were flooded by angry UK fans, some of whom issued death threats, according to the lawsuit.

Shortly after the lawsuit became public, Jones tweeted that it was “frivolous and without any legal merit whatsoever.”

The motion filed on Monday cited “lack of personal jurisdiction” as reason that the lawsuit should be dismissed or transferred from Nebraska to the Eastern District of Kentucky. “None of the Defendants has continuous and systematic contacts with Nebraska or its citizens, and therefore, general jurisdiction does not exist over Defendants,” the motion states.

As of Tuesday, no response to the motion for dismissal had been filed.

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