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State court ends Raiders lawsuit against NFL

SAN FRANCISCO (July 2, 2007) -- The Oakland Raiders lost their case in highest court in the state of California after contending in a lawsuit that the National Football League sabotaged the team's effort to build a stadium at Hollywood Park in Los Angeles.

The case dates back more than 20 years, when Raiders managing partner Al Davis accused the league of purposely not doing enough to help the team move from the antiquated Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to a new stadium complete with revenue-generating luxury suites.

The Raiders returned to Oakland in 1995 after spending 13 years in Los Angeles.

The NFL won a 9-3 verdict in 2001, but Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Richard Hubbell ordered a new trial amid accusations that one juror was biased against the team and Davis, and that another juror committed misconduct.

A state appeals court overturned that decision, and the California Supreme Court unanimously ruled the verdict against the Raiders stands.

The juror said he joked that he hated the Raiders because he had once wagered on the team and lost. The juror said he made the comment as a way to ease tensions during deliberations and that none of his colleagues took the joke seriously.

The Supreme Court also declined to order a new trial based on accusations that a second juror, who was a lawyer, gave other jurors information about the law that the judge did not provide.

The state's highest court said it had little choice but to give the league the victory because the trial court judge didn't provide any details on the alleged misconduct.

"We are pleased that this lengthy litigation is finally over," said NFL spokesman Joe Browne.

Raiders lawyer Jeff Birren called the ruling "incomprehensible" and complained that the team lost only because "the judge failed to insert a few additional words of explanation."

The ruling was the last of several lawsuits the Raiders had outstanding against the league and its stadium landlords.

"A clean sweep is a fair characterization," NFL attorney Gregg H. Levy said.

In November, the Raiders and the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority ended a decade of legal acrimony by dropping existing lawsuits and ending the seat-licensing plan known as personal seat licenses or "PSLs."

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2007, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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