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Maricopa County file to dismiss Arizona Diamondbacks’ lawsuit over Chase Field

The next shot in the legal battle was fired this afternoon.

Colorado Rockies v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Previously, on Judge Judy... As you may recall, at the start of the year, the Diamondbacks filed a suit against the Maricopa County Stadium District, demanding the right to see other people explore other locations for the team. While this was forbidden at the current point of their lease, which runs through 2028, the team felt that the MCSD had broken it by failing to keep the park in an adequate state of repair, not having anything like the amount of money in the coffers to carry out fixes the team considered to be necessary.

The MCSD has now countered, filing its own motion in Superior Court today, requesting a dismissal of the team’s suit. One of their attorneys, Grady Gammage, said, "They signed the contracts and the contracts say: the Diamondbacks are the tenant, the Stadium District is the landlord, and… the simple fact is, they’re not allowed to sue just because they’re unhappy with their landlord." In their 72-page document, [PDF], the MCSD requested the court send the matter to arbitration, as laid down in the lease. They say, "It is clear that the Diamondbacks’ Complaint is an attempt to twist a disagreement over potential upgrades – which is the subject of mandatory arbitration – into a lawsuit designed to let them terminate the contract."

The Diamondbacks issued the following statement in response: "The County has finally acknowledged that the taxpayers and Diamondbacks together partnered on the funding of Chase Field. The initial $238 million taxpayer investment has resulted in a return of more than $500 million directly to the State, local governments and taxpayers, as recently reported by the Arizona State University Seidman Research Institute. The Diamondbacks alone have also invested more than $400 million in construction costs, annual rental payments and maintenance expenses that have helped Chase Field continue to look the way it does today."

Their lawyer, Leo Bern, added: "The Diamondbacks spent nearly four years proposing good faith solutions to alleviate the Maricopa County Stadium District’s predicament behind closed doors. There was absolutely no cooperation from the County and they made no attempts to resolve the issues facing the obvious shortfall they had created. Now, they would like to avoid a public hearing on our lawsuit and meet in private, as we had done in the past to no avail. Mr. Gammage clearly identifies the County Stadium District as the landlord and the Diamondbacks as the tenant, and this landlord has made it crystal clear both publicly and privately that it cannot uphold its responsibilities to its tenant."