Seattle Arena Lawsuit Could Be Ruled On Today

Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE

Reports out of Seattle indicate that the lawsuit filed by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union could be ruled on today. The city, county and the Hansen group are seeking for the suit to be dismissed.

Chris Daniels of Seattle's KING 5 news reported today that a ruling could come as soon as today on a lawsuit filed by the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). The Lawsuit alleges that city and county officials violated State Environmental laws. Among the chief complaints brought forth by the union are that a new arena at the SoDo site would create traffic problems and "environmental havoc" at the Port of Seattle.

Attorneys representing the city, county and Chris Hansen are seeking for the suit to be dismissed, claiming the lawsuit has "no merit".

The ruling today would be simply whether to hear out the case or to dismiss it. Judge Douglass North has set aside an hour and a half this afternoon starting at 1:30 PM for arguments and will likely have a ruling ready after that. A dismissal would remove an obstacle for the Seattle Arena Plan while the opposite would create delays, particularly of the environmental impact study.

Commissioner David Stern did mention during his All-Star weekend press conference that one of the factors that will contribute to the decision to either move the Kings franchise to Seattle or block a sale and keep them in Sacramento will be the feasibility of each city's arena plan. Sacramento still has not announced their own arena plan or investors, but are expected to do so by March 1st.

Another lawsuit against the Seattle Arena challenging the $200 million public contribution is pending but is not expected to be ruled upon soon. That lawsuit is based on Initiative 91, which prohibits Seattle from supporting sports teams with tax dollars unless such investments yield a profit on par with a 30-year U.S. Treasury Bond.

UPDATE 2:37 PM:

The Judge has ruled in favor of the City, County and Hansen, dismissing the ILWU's case on the basis that the MOU does not serve as a legally binding action to build an arena at the SoDo site. This was an expected result.

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