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Appellate court rules for NFL in Raiders case

(Feb. 23, 2005) -- The California Court of Appeal issued a unanimous decision in favor of the NFL in a lawsuit filed by the Raiders in Los Angeles. The decision, which addressed a number of issues, including the proposed stadium at Hollywood Park and the Raiders' claim they owned the "Los Angeles opportunity," upheld the league's position in this litigation.

Following a lengthy trial in 2001, a jury found in favor of the league on all counts. The jury ruled that the Raiders did not "own" Los Angeles and that the league did not interfere with the Raiders' negotiations to build a stadium at Hollywood Park. One year later, the trial judge set aside that verdict and held that the Raiders were entitled to a new trial on grounds of alleged juror misconduct.

In a 57-page opinion, the appellate court reversed the trial judge and ordered that the original verdict in favor of the league be reinstated. The court held that because "the order granting a new trial failed to comply with [California law], we have independently reviewed the grounds asserted in the motion. We conclude that neither the conflicting evidence of juror misconduct nor any asserted instructional error justifies a new trial."

The appeals court also rejected the Raiders' appeal of the trial court's ruling in the league's favor on revenue sharing. On that issue, the appeals court found that "substantial evidence supports the trial court's conclusion" and that the Raiders are obligated under the NFL Constitution and By-Laws to share revenues derived from their lease in Oakland.

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