Sports Law and Eminent Domain
The action and excitement of sport necessarily takes place on a court, track, or other playing field. No field, no game: that reality makes real estate law an important component of sports law. Because sports stadiums and similar venues are extremely valuable property, they sooner or later attract the attention of government, specifically in the area of eminent domain and the law of takings. Manatt attorney, Gideon Kanner, who also has taught property courses at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, is a national expert in this area with decades of experience in takings and inverse condemnation.
He recently turned his attention to the intersection of sports law and eminent domain in two articles in this issue. The first relays the legal history of attempts by cities to “take” professional football teams through public use condemnation. The second addresses Maryland’s current attempt to “take” both the Pimlico race track as well as all Preakness-related intellectual property.
In this economic environment, more rather than less government action in this area is likely. We hope these timely articles provide a good primer.
Revisiting Baltimore's Failed Hail Mary
Break out a bottle of the good stuff. It's time to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Baltimore Colts' famous defeat of the city's attempt to condemn its NFL franchise. In 1984, Baltimore sought to keep the team from moving to Indianapolis. Unable to negotiate an agreement with the Colts to keep them in town, Baltimore tried to emulate the bizarre accomplishment of the city of Oakland, which had earlier persuaded the California Supreme Court that to take the Oakland Raiders' NFL franchise by eminent domain and convey it to another, more municipally favored person or entity who would promise to remain in Oakland, was not impermissible under the "public use" clause of the Constitution. City of Oakland v. Oakland Raiders, 32 Cal.3d 60 (1982). [Read More]
Maryland's Bad Track Record
No sooner did the ink dry on my celebration of the 25th anniversary of the erstwhile Baltimore Colts' midnight departure to Indianapolis, when Maryland has provided us with more eminent domain related stuff for our gristmill. It seems that profitability of horse racing isn't what it used to be, and Magna Entertainment Corporation, the owner of the Preakness horse race, one of the jewels in the Triple Crown, has filed for bankruptcy. Its assets, including not only the famous, 140-acre Pimlico racetrack where the Preakness is run, but also the intellectual property rights in the Preakness name will have to be disposed of by the bankruptcy court. [Read More]
Gideon Kanner An experienced appellate attorney and eminent domain expert, Mr. Kanner has been a practicing appellate lawyer in eminent domain and inverse condemnation for forty years. Mr. Kanner has been counsel for property owners in numerous precedent-setting cases before the California Supreme Court and has appeared as counsel for parties and amici curiae in a number of inverse condemnation cases in the United States Supreme Court. Prior to joining Manatt, Mr. Kanner was Professor of Law at the Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where he remains a Professor Emeritus.
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