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Lone dissenter on Anaheim City Council urges a resolution

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  • Lone dissenter on Anaheim City Council urges a resolution

    Wednesday, June 7, 2006
    Orange Grove: Anaheim, Angels should move on
    City's appeal of verdict upholding team name change is misguided

    Anaheim councilman

    On May 30, I voted against appealing the judgment in the city of Anaheim's lawsuit against Angels Baseball, L.P. As an Anaheim City Council member, I viewed it as my duty to oppose the spending of more time and taxpayer money in pursuing a very uncertain civil appeal in this matter.

    In a case such as this where the matter has been fully tried on its merits, any appeal would be an uphill battle. The city has already spent $3.8 million through March 31 in litigating this matter. While the city's projected further costs on appeal, capped at $150,000, may not seem that much to some people, a loss on appeal could very well result in the city being ordered to pay the Angels' costs on appeal, exposing our taxpayers to even more litigation expenditures.

    Additionally, the Angels are still seeking reimbursement for the $7 million to $8 million they say they spent in defending against the city's lawsuit challenging the team's name change to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

    It is a fact that most civil appeals (nearly 80 percent) are unsuccessful and result in the original judgment being affirmed without modification. In filing the appeal, the city's legal team will cite numerous reversible errors purportedly committed by the judge during the trial. These errors include not allowing several city witnesses to testify, not instructing the jury to consider the intent of the city and former Angels owner Disney in negotiating the stadium lease, and not rejecting the testimony of a former Disney executive regarding the addition of second city to the team name.

    The city's lawyers also will contend that the judge's statement of decision went beyond the scope of the jury verdict by granting the Angels the opportunity to use "Los Angeles" as the sole geographic reference to the team. Several jurors may have told the city's attorneys that the judge's rulings could have influenced the outcome, but that is equivocal.

    The bottom line is that there is a very high threshold that must be overcome for a reversal on appeal when a case has been tried on its merits. There are presumptions that will be invoked in support of the judgment. Evidentiary conflicts are also generally resolved in favor of the judgment, so long as the judgment was supported by substantial evidence.

    In my opinion, the $150,000 that would be expended on a very uncertain appeal would be much better spent in support of our city's public safety or community-services programs and projects.

    We had our day in court. We put our faith in the justice system and the highly capable lawyers who presented our case, but we lost every inning. It is time to move on, learn from this experience, and mend relationships with owner Arte Moreno and the Angels organization rather than fostering an ongoing atmosphere of legal skirmishing.

    Attempts have been made to reach a mutually agreeable resolution with the Angels. Those attempts should continue in the best interests of all involved. By putting pride aside and continuing to objectively examine potential grounds for breaking through negotiating logjams and existing frustrations, a global settlement is still achievable, in my view. No one wants the Angels to be gone from Anaheim.

    It is time to put all the issues on the table, and it is my hope that Arte Moreno and others in the Angels organization do not consider the filing of this appeal as an end of settlement discussions. The city must try to continue to work toward a reasoned resolution with the Angels, and both sides must stop rattling their swords.

    Is the city going to run to court every time the Angels market themselves as the Los Angeles Angels? Or should we be seeking a negotiated compromise and lease agreement concessions that would result in a "win-win" situation for both sides? I'll continue making my pitch for the latter course of action. :atthepc

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  • #2
    I get only one consolation out of the idiocy of the Anaheim
    government harassing the Angels. To wit: it is nice to see
    that there can be something stupid and controversial happen
    and not take place in Alabama!



    • #3
      Angels are somwhat like certain inhabitants of Santa Monica Blvd they are not what they seem...........


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