Judge recommends dismissing lawsuit

Updated: May 20, 2009, 5:05 PM ET
Associated Press

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Suffice it to say that in U.S. Magistrate Judge Wallace Dixon's opinion, ousted Duke University golfer Andrew Giuliani's lawsuit against the school did not make par.

Dixon sprinkled golf lingo and even a quote from the movie "Caddyshack" into his written ruling that Giuliani's claim flew off the fairway and landed out of bounds.

Dixon recommended dismissal of the lawsuit against Duke by the son of former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The younger Giuliani claimed that Duke's golf coach manufactured accusations against him to justify kicking him off the team in 2008, when he was a junior. He's seeking an unspecified amount of damages.

The golf jargon in the formal legal opinion stood out like a pair of plaid golf pants against a putting green.

Dixon noted that Giuliani "tees up his case" by alleging he was victim of a secret expulsion with no opportunity to defend himself. He also observed that Giuliani asserted he had properly made a claim for breach of contract. Dixon wrote, "His analysis, however, slices far from the fairway."

In another section, Dixon asserted that Giuliani was trying to change arguments "like trying to change clubs after hitting the golf ball."

Likewise with Giuliani's reference to a "good faith" covenant: "Plaintiff attempts to take a mulligan with this argument; however, this shot also lands in the drink."

And as for interference with a contract: "Plaintiff also shanks this claim."

The judge saved his most unique reference for a suggestion that Giuliani should receive damages because of an implied contract. Dixon invoked a movie scene in which Bill Murray plays a gopher-obsessed groundskeeper named Carl Spackler who works at a ritzy club and at one point narrates an impossible golf scenario as he knocks the tops off flowers with a garden tool.

The argument, Dixon writes, "brings to mind Carl Spackler's analysis from the movie 'Caddyshack' (Orion Pictures 1980): 'He's on his final hole. He's about 455 yards away, he's gonna hit about a 2 iron, I think.'"

Dixon's recommendation will be reviewed by a higher judge. Giuliani attorney Robert Ekstrand said he wanted the case to move forward.

"Andrew is an honorable, fantastic young man and he's looking forward to his day in court," Ekstrand said.

Now 23, Giuliani graduated from Duke earlier this month.

A Duke spokesman said the opinion correctly recognized that there is no right to play on a college sports team. Giuliani didn't receive a scholarship and didn't sign a letter of intent.

"We're pleased with the decision and appreciate that the court understood the implications of such a lawsuit for college sports teams everywhere," said spokesman Mike Schoenfeld.

Dixon didn't immediately return a message left at his chambers.


Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press