Angels to Keep LA/Anaheim in Name
Jury sides with Angels in name trial
Ruling means team will keep both LA, Anaheim in title
By Mike Scarr / MLB.com
The Angels did not breach a contract with the city of Anaheim when the team changed its name, a jury decided Thursday.
The jury also ruled the Angels were not in violation of California state law that requires "good faith and fair dealing" when it changed the team's name to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim from Anaheim Angels in January 2005. The Orange County panel took a little more than four hours to decide a case that opened Jan. 9.
The city had claimed losses in the millions of dollars from tourism and publicity, but the city was unable to sway the 12-member jury, which voted 9-3 in favor of the Angels. At least nine jurors had to agree, either way, for a verdict.
Team owner Arte Moreno, who bought the Angels from Disney in 2003, has hoped to use the name as part of a larger marketing plan to leverage the entire Los Angeles area, the second largest media market in the country.
"I was trying to create something positive and more inclusive ... which we believed was our legal right to do," Moreno said. "Long term, we're going to have a healthier franchise that can compete."
The case, and ultimately the decision, hinged on the clause in the lease agreement signed by Disney and Anaheim in 1996, which stated the name of the team shall include the name "Anaheim therein."
Moreno's attorneys maintained throughout the trial that regardless of having two geographic names in the title, the new name was not in violation of the contract. In presenting its case, the city argued that although the name "Anaheim Angels" was not specifically stated in the lease, the intent was there.
Anaheim attorneys called on witnesses who testified that the name "Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim" ran counter to "custom and usage" of baseball by using two separate city names. The jury also heard testimony that the city stood to lose as much as $373 million over the life of the agreement that expires in 2029 by not having Anaheim in the title.
Angel attorney Todd Theodora argued those projections were entirely speculative and later contradicted earlier testimony by Disney executives that the idea of two city names was never discussed by calling Larry Murphy, a former Disney executive vice president, who testified that another geographic location was contemplated.
The trial cost the city about $2 million in legal fees.
"We are disappointed, of course, by the jury's decision," said Anaheim Mayor Curt Pringle, who was unsure if the city would appeal. "We still believe the facts were firmly in our favor."
The Angels point to the $5 million the city as received in revenue sharing in the Moreno era as proof they are working toward mutual benefit.
"We are certainly pleased with the decision by the jury stating that we were not in breach of the existing lease with the city and, in fact, are in compliance with the lease," said team spokesman Tim Mead. "This was a business dispute. We worked through the 2005 season and we've worked on the World Baseball Classic. We just reached a point where we didn't agree."
Mike Scarr is a reporter for MLB.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
yeah, but what a waste of taxpayer money. Oh well, at least it's anaheim tax money.
Originally Posted by Bluesteve32
Concur, and the money Arte spent could have been better spent elsewhere, too.
Originally Posted by Elvis9045
How do you spell relief?
I thought this was vital to Arte Moreno's plans. A name is an affirmation of what you plan to do. It would have stunted the club's growth if the City of Anaheim had won.
Originally Posted by Bluesteve32
I'm going to be optimistic and say that there will be no further challenges to the name.
I'm greatly relieved!
Well, I look forward to a brand-spanking new undisneyfied stadium for the 2017 season. Location to be determined by Arte as some point.