Scott K. Ginsburg, a Texas millionaire and alum of Georgetown University’s law school in Washington, D.C., wants to keep his lawsuit against his alma mater in Dallas federal court rather than permit it to move to D.C.
In March, Ginsburg had filed a complaint, seeking to recover $7.5 million in donations he made to Georgetown. He sought recovery, he alleged in his March 4 complaint, because the school had balked at naming a fitness center after him despite its contractual obligations to do so.
In his complaint in Scott K. Ginsburg v. Georgetown filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Ginsburg alleged that the law school reneged on a naming-rights agreement reached in 2000 after he was found civilly liable for insider trading. In April, Georgetown University fired back. In an answer and counterclaim filed in Dallas federal court on April 9, the university alleged that Ginsburg breached a contract and owes $9 million in pledged donations to Georgetown University Law Center.
In an Aug. 22 filed objection to a ruling granting a motion to transfer the case to D.C., Ginsburg argues that when a federal magistrate granted Georgetown’s request to move the case, she failed to “give any weight to Mr. Ginsburg’s choice — and right — to bring suit in his home city.”
On Aug. 8, U.S. Magistrate Renee Harris Tolliver granted Georgetown’s motion to transfer Ginsberg's case. In her opinion, Tolliver notes that “the bulk of the witnesses and documentary evidence are located [in D.C.].” She notes also that Ginsburg had argued that the alleged fraudulent misrepresentations occurred in Dallas, the contract between the two parties arose in Dallas, and Georgetown’s conduct was harmful to him, as a resident of Dallas. But, Tolliver writes, Ginsburg “should have anticipated the possibility of having to travel to there to vindicate his rights in the event of a contract breach” and says that both public and private interest factors support transferring the case. This includes statistics Georgetown provided showing the Northern District of Texas has “approximately 29% more filings, 215% more cases pending, 3 fewer judgeships and approximately 374% more civil filings and 269% more pending cases per judgeship than the District of Columbia.”
Ginsburg had countered with evidence showing that Northern District’s “median time from filing to disposition and/or trial is significantly shorter” than the District of Columbia, according to Tolliver’s opinion. In his objection, Ginsburg asks that the court deny Georgetown’s transfer motion or, alternatively remand to Tolliver with instructions to reconsider, “with due weight to the convenience of party witnesses as recognized by several district courts in this [5th] Circuit.”
Trey Cox, a partner in Dallas' Lynn Tillotson Pinker & Cox, who represents Ginsburg, and Bruce D. Oakley, a partner in Hogan Lovells in Houston who represents Georgetown, both did not immediately return calls to their office seeking comment.
-- Miriam Rozen