Oakland Coliseum wins Raiders lawsuit
By DAVID KRAVETS, AP Legal Affairs Writer Fri Nov 17, 8:18 PM ET
SAN FRANCISCO - A state appeals court on Friday threw out a jury's $34.2 million award to the Oakland Raiders over accusations that managers of the Oakland Coliseum falsely promised a sold-out stadium to lure the team back to the Bay Area.
The case dates to 1995, when Raiders owner Al Davis maneuvered to get his team out of Southern California after revenues waned, the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum's foundation was shaken by an earthquake and a deal collapsed to build a new stadium and horse track.
The Oakland deal, first inked in 1995 and renegotiated a year later, gave the Raiders a $53 million loan, $10 million for a training complex and $100 million to renovate the coliseum, which they share with baseball's Oakland Athletics.
The 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento said in a 2-1 ruling on Friday that because the Raiders agreed to the deal a second time, the team forfeited its right to sue for fraud.
The coliseum, owned by the city of Oakland and Alameda County, also maintained any box office flop should be partly blamed on pricey tickets and poor performances. The team's abysmal 4-12 season in its third year after returning was one of the worst since Davis took over four decades ago.
Stadium officials also argued the team's owners got richer by returning to Oakland and that Davis was told up front where ticket sales stood when he signed the initial pact.
Raiders general counsel Jeff Birren said the team was considering an appeal to the California Supreme Court.
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