Oakland Raiders vs. City of Oakland 

Team may tap into tax funds, experts say

Monday, September 01, 2003 - 7:38:29 AM PST
By Paul T. Rosynsky, STAFF WRITER
OAKLAND TRIBUNE -- Promises by city and Alameda County officials that taxpayer funds are not at risk in a Sacramento jury's judgment awarding the Oakland Raiders $34.2 million in damages are not as sound as implied, legal experts say.

Should the Raiders win all the appeals certain to follow last week's jury award and a settlement is not reached between the two warring parties, experts said the team might have a chance to tap taxpayer funds for the award.

"The Raiders should be able to go after whichever entity owns the Coliseum," said Jessie Fried, a University of California, Berkeley, law professor who teaches corporate and bankruptcy law.

"The system is designed to not allow people to play these games."

City and county officials, along with attorneys for the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum board, claimed last week the Raiders would not be able to tap city funds because the court judgment was against the Coliseum board only.

The board, established in 1963, is a private business with no legal connection to the city and county, lawyers said, and therefore the two governments should not be held liable for any judgment against it.

They argued that the Coliseum board relinquished its assets in 1995 after a new agency, the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority, took over operations of the Coliseum stadium and Arena.

That authority, commonly referred to as the JPA, is run by City Council members, county commissioners and appointed individuals.

In addition, Coliseum board attorneys and local officials argued, the Raiders would "not see a dime" of the award because the Coliseum board has no assets and is defunct.

"It is a corporation that is not active and it has no assets," said Alameda County Counsel Richard Winnie.

"We ourselves, through our own research, do not see a connection."

But at least one aspect of Winnie's and Coliseum board attorneys' research has already been proved wrong.

Business records held by the California Secretary of State show that the Coliseum board remains an active corporation. In addition, the Coliseum board is listed as meeting monthly.

"It's all smoke and mirrors," said Raiders attorney Ken Hausman. "They need to do something to keep the public fooled."

The status of the Coliseum board, however, doesn't answer questions about its assets or who is responsible for its liabilities.

While Winnie and others argue nobody has responsibility, Raiders attorneys and some legal experts disagree.

When the operations of the Coliseum stadium complex changed hands in 1995, some legal experts said liability for Coliseum board actions did too.

"It's conceivable they set this up in such a way that the Coliseum corporation is separate, but it is extremely unlikely," said Roger Noll, a Stanford University professor who has studied the case. "I think this is really a long shot; I think it is coming from left field."

As a general rule, corporate law requires that the only entity responsible for liability is the corporation which caused the harm, said William Wang, a professor of corporate law at the University of California Hastings College of the Law

But if the responsible corporation does not have assets as a result of a transfer of operations, then the new entity could be responsible, Wang said.

trim to optional add if needed qIf somehow the transfer made the corporation less credit worthy, that is a factor, q Wang said. qThis is a complicated case.q

Judges have allowed those seeking judgments to go after a parent corporation to prevent people from opening corporations simply to avoid liability, legal experts said.

qCorporations cannot escape liability by transferring its assets to other entities,q Fried said. qIf you allowed the JPA to escape liability in this situation, ... that would mean all you have to do is shut down to avoid payment and that would be a crazy system.q

Furthermore, the JPA signed an indemnity agreement with the Coliseum board in 1997 in which the JPA qagrees to indemnify, hold harmless and defend (the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Inc.) ... who were or are parties or are threatened to be made parties to any proceeding.q

Winnie denies that agreement plays a role in the current case.

qIt was a very limited indemnity and they are going to have to explain why it matters,q he said. qIt's not my burden.q

In addition, experts said, they doubt the Raiders legal team would spend millions in legal fees suing a corporation without checking to see if that corporation has a way to pay a final judgment.

qThere is no way they would have litigated this all the way when all they thought they would get is the assets of a empty entity,q Noll said.

Crazy or not, local leaders are adamant that they have duped the Raiders into suing a qempty entity,q however, they will not say why that is the case.

qIt's (the Raiders) burden (to force payment), not ours,q Winnie said. qThis is so important so we are trying to handle it procedurally. q

qIt is going to be very easy to find out if they can get the money, let them try to collect, he said. qThat is our position. It is up to the Raiders to collect.q

The true position of the city and county, however, might be to scare the Raiders into a settlement, legal experts said. By indicating a willingness to aggressively fight Raider claims to the damages, local governments could be sending a message to the team that it will cost them dearly in legal fees to secure payment, the experts said.

But that tactic will cost taxpayers thousands of dollars as attorney's fees continue to rise with every court battle. And it also damages any chance for the Raiders and the two governments to come together to reach a settlement.

"Both sides have said things that are inappropriate," said Alameda County Supervisor Gail Steele. "It is very destructive."

Oakland Raiders Win Partial Victory Against Coliseum

JIM WASSERMAN, Associated Press Writer Tuesday, August 26, 2003

(08-26) 14:08 PDT SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) --

Al Davis and his Oakland Raiders were awarded $34.2 million Tuesday by a jury that found Oakland coliseum officials failed to deliver on promises of sold-out stadiums in luring the team back from Los Angeles.

The verdict in the lawsuit was far less than the $570 million to $833 million the Raiders sought to compensate for weak ticket sales and the declining value of the franchise.

Both sides promised to appeal the verdict -- reached after more than 10 days of deliberations. The jury heard nearly four months of testimony from 45 witnesses and had more than 600 pieces of evidence to consider.

"Do we think that there's adequate compensation for damages? No," said the Raiders' attorney, Roger Dreyer. "We're disappointed with the verdict. We're disappointed with the numbers."

The case dates to 1995 when Davis, the legendary Raiders owner, maneuvered to get his team out of Southern California after revenues waned, the team's stadium was shaken by an earthquake and a deal collapsed to build a new stadium.

The deal gave the Raiders a $53 million loan, $10 million for a training complex and $100 million to renovate the coliseum, which is shared with the Oakland Athletics.

Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, its chief negotiator Ed DeSilva and the now-defunct Arthur Andersen accounting firm were accused of intentionally misleading the team with its promises of sold-out games.

The jury ruled the coliseum acted negligently, but said none of the defendants intentionally misrepresented ticket sales.

The coliseum's lawyer said any box office flop should be partly blamed on high ticket prices and the Raiders' poor performance on the field upon their return to Oakland.

The Raiders are one of the most storied franchises in the NFL, from their days as an AFL power in the 1960s to their return to dominance in the last three years.

During that time, Davis' lengthy career has been marked by a bruising style of play on the field and an aggressive business approach that has made the organization the most litigious in the NFL.

The coliseum suit was similar to one the Raiders lost two years ago in Los Angeles. Davis claimed the NFL owed him $1.2 billion for spiking the deal to build a new stadium at the Hollywood Park race track. A judge ordered a new trial because of juror misconduct, but the NFL is appealing.

Well, I hate to say I told you so, but....

The Raiders press conference is coming up today. They're mentioning filing appeal. I personally think both sides should focus on solving the problem of poor PSL sales, by just doing away with the program and adopting a ticket surcharge system.

What do you think?

Team catches positive vibes from the jury (Oakland Tribune)

Lengthy deliberations, question about awarding damages stirs excitement
By Paul T. Rosynsky, STAFF WRITER

SACRAMENTO -- As the jury in the Oakland Raiders' $1.1 billion fraud trial enters a third week of deliberations, each question it sends to the case judge is being analyzed by courtroom observers for clues to a possible verdict.

Since getting the case Aug. 6, the jury of nine women and three men has asked 10 questions covering almost every aspect of the trial. And with each question comes a flurry of speculation from attorneys for the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum board and the Raiders, who are facing off in the case.

So far, that speculation has surrounded the length of deliberations and the last jury question, which focused on testimony given in the trial about how damages should be awarded.

That question and the time jurors are taking to deliberate are being seized by the Raiders' attorneys as something to cheer about.

"It demonstrates that they are being thoughtful and that they are going over the evidence carefully," Raiders attorney Roger Dreyer said Monday. "This is not something you can figure out in a day or two ... it takes a long time."

Attorneys for both the Raiders and the Coliseum board agreed earlier this month that a quick jury decision most likely would favor Oakland and Alameda County. Determining that the Raiders' fraud claim was unfounded should be easier than concluding otherwise, they reasoned.

Coliseum board attorney James Brosnahan refused comment Monday.

The jury is being asked to answer 44 different questions on six separate verdict forms.

Those six forms cover the Raiders' fraud claims against the Coliseum board, Dublin businessman Ed DeSilva and accounting firm Arthur Andersen. The Raiders claim they were lied to about the status of ticket sales when team owner Al Davis signed a 16-year lease to play in Oakland in 1995.

The Raiders claim those alleged lies were made by Coliseum board members; DeSilva, who was the board's leading negotiator with the Raiders in 1995; and Arthur Andersen, which was in charge of tabulating ticket applications.

As a result, the team claims it lost more than $800 million in revenue and franchise worth from not having stadium sellouts it purportedly was promised.

In addition, the verdict forms ask the jury whether the Coliseum board acted in bad faith when negotiating the 1995 deal to bring the Raiders back from Los Angeles. One form asks the jury whether the team waived its right to claim fraud by signing an amendment to the master agreement in 1996.

Earlier questions asked by the jury focused on the possible waiver and what would constitute the Coliseum acting in bad faith.

The jurors wanted to know how a decision on the waiver issue would affect a damage award. And they wanted to know when deciding on good-faith dealing whether they should factor in verbal promises the Coliseum board made to the Raiders on June 23, 1995, when the team signed a letter of intent to return to Oakland.

While both those questions were technical in nature and revealed little about how the jury was proceeding, the question they asked last week apparently excited the Raiders legal team.

The jury asked whether it could read trial testimony from two experts who spoke about the status of the Raiders' franchise value.

Those experts, one called by the Raiders and the other by the Coliseum board, predicted what the team's franchise value would be in 2010 had it sold out the Coliseum stadium throughout the Raiders' 16-year stay in Oakland.

Although the Raiders expert said the team lost more than $800 million in franchise worth, the Coliseum expert said it was impossible to predict future team worth.

Despite the questions, many agree it is impossible to predict how a jury might decide.

"You can't read much into this," Dreyer said. "You've got 12 people who are approaching things from 12 different ways."


What do you think the jury will conclude?

I'm not an attorney, but I have been around many and also planned to go to law school before starting SBS. With that, I will observe that if the jury is taking this long, it's because there are 44 question to answer.

Given what I know of this issue, my prediction is that the jury will conclude there was not sufficient evidence of fraud, but there were questionable practices on the part of some Coliseum staffers and public officials.

I think the jury will issue some kind of award, but it will stop short of permitting the Raiders to break their lease. Hopefully, the jury will force the two sides to work together for the first time since 1996.


Raiders vs. The City of Oakland and Alameda County


Add your view to our community. Read about, then write about, the Raiders Trial. We want to know your take on the team and this issue! To start off our discussion: will you go to the games?

This is a collection of articles and information on the Raiders case. Add your coments at the bottom of this page.

Posted on Mon, Aug. 11, 2003
Jury in Raiders' lawsuit deciding which side to trust
By Barry Witt
Mercury News

As they resume deliberations today in the Raiders' fraud suit against the Oakland Coliseum, 12 Sacramento jurors are wrestling with conflicting testimony on just about everything concerning owner Al Davis' decision to return from Los Angeles.

Everything -- including Davis' wardrobe on Aug. 7, 1995, when he entered a Coliseum meeting five hours before signing a 16-year contract.

``He was wearing his traditional jumpsuit-type attire, Raider-type emblem,'' testified Ed DeSilva, a key negotiator for the East Bay.

``He was wearing a business suit and tie,'' countered Raiders chief executive Amy Trask.

And the man himself? ``I'm not sure exactly, if I were wearing a white sweatsuit, a black-white suit or a white suit, or my shirt and tie,'' Davis said.

The testimony on so minor a point is indicative of the hazy memories and divergent accounts of the most crucial matter in dispute: whether Davis was told, before he signed the contract to return, that thousands of applications for season-ticket packages were in doubt because of bounced checks and rejected credit cards.

After listening to witnesses for four months, the three men and nine women on the jury panel have been deliberating since late Wednesday on whether to give Davis any part of the $833 million he claims he's losing because Oakland officials ``conned'' him into returning, or send him home empty-handed with a message to accept the blame for his own mistakes.

Coliseum officials announced July 20, 1995, that they had sold 44,700 personal seat licenses -- which fans needed for the right to buy season tickets. That number represented a sellout of the stadium in 1995, before it was expanded.

Dispute over meeting

However, by Aug. 7 that year, the officials knew nearly 5,000 PSL applications had been rejected.

Witnesses representing the Coliseum, DeSilva and the Arthur Andersen accounting firm, which was keeping the books, said Davis was provided that information. Davis, Trask and Raiders legend Jim Otto, the three team representatives in the room, said he wasn't. Oakland and Alameda County were dismissed from the case on technical grounds, but city and county taxpayers remain on the hook if either the Coliseum or DeSilva must pay damages.

In addition to the dispute over what was said during that five-hour meeting, the jurors also are confronted with sorting out the truth on these key points:

???????????????????????????????????????Whether on June 23, 1995, when he signed an initial ``letter of intent'' to return to Oakland, Davis expected sales results to be available before he would sign the final contract.

???????????????????????????????????????Whether Davis was aware during the 1995 season and in early 1996 that thousands of PSLs remained available. That fact is important because on June 1, 1996, Davis signed an amended version of the original contract, reaffirming his actions of the prior summer, without complaining that he'd been misled about the number of PSLs sold.

On at least one matter, both sides agree: For a year before Davis signed the deal, East Bay leaders were selling Davis on the merits of returning to Oakland.

Raiders attorneys spent days demonstrating how Davis repeatedly was assured about the continued viability of a market he had abandoned in 1982. But those assurances were nothing more than salesmanship, according to the Coliseum. Both sides agree there were no written sales guarantees in the contract.

``They were assuming a sellout,'' Davis testified. ``We were concerned about it, but we were assured it can be done, and then we were told it was done.''

Coliseum attorneys argued that Davis never expected to see sales results before the deal would become final.

Regardless of his intent, however, the Coliseum did end up announcing sales results before the signing date. So the most important evidence in the case involves what happened Aug. 7, 1995 -- three weeks after the PSL application deadline and a point at which the Coliseum already was aware of problems.

DeSilva, former Coliseum board member Dennis Cuneo, former Oakland Deputy City Manager Ezra Rapport and two executives from Arthur Andersen say Davis was given a document that day outlining the problems with bad credit cards and check problems. Andersen partner Marvin Friedman and the others said Friedman talked Davis through the document.

Notes that Rapport said he took at the meeting list the names of those in attendance. Comments on the credit-card and check problems are written next to the name ``A. Davis,'' which Rapport said reflected Davis' participation.

Shown Rapport's notes on the witness stand, Davis said, ``Listen, I don't know when these notes were written, but Al Davis was in the room and these things were not discussed.''

A related matter jurors will have to consider is whether the Raiders should have understood that statements that PSLs had been ``sold'' before Aug. 7 reflected only the fact that fans had put down non-refundable deposits equal to 25 percent of the PSL price by that date, not the full price of the PSL, nor money for season tickets.

Fans abandoned PSLs

Thousands of fans ended up abandoning those deposits. Many did so because they had submitted applications for far more tickets than they wanted in the belief that demand would be overwhelming, and they got stuck with every PSL they ordered. Others dropped out because they realized single-game tickets probably would be available without the need to buy PSLs.

Indeed, single-game tickets were available throughout the 1995 season, and in ensuing seasons. Whether the Raiders were told why is the final key issue in dispute.

On Aug. 18, 1995, Coliseum officials announced that only 31,000 PSL buyers had made their second deposits, a figure reported on the front page of newspapers across the Bay Area. The poor sales performance was common knowledge throughout the fall, as single-game tickets went on sale and two home games failed to sell out, and, by NFL rule, could not be shown on local television.

But Davis and Trask, who were still based in Los Angeles, said they didn't see the Bay Area newspaper stories. In any case, they said they were continually assured by DeSilva and Rapport that any deficiencies were because of confusion at the ticket office. Contrary to what the newspapers reported, they said they believed there were buyers for the remaining PSLs, but their accounts just needed to get straightened out.

``A PSL holder, who did not have a clean, pure, perfected, cured account would often be in a position of purchasing their seats on a game-to-game basis,'' Trask testified.

It wasn't until a meeting at the Raiders' new headquarters in Alameda in June 1996 -- three weeks after Davis signed the amended deal -- that he said Rapport and DeSilva told him of the true status of PSL sales.

``It's tough to explain what you say and what you feel, but we were told almost that our project here in Oakland was a total, total disaster,'' Davis testified. The team owner added that he told DeSilva, ``We've got to be made whole.''

Raiders court case winds down
By Guy Ashley
August 4, 2003

OAKLAND - East Bay football fans may never have yearned so longingly for a bone-crunching Bill Romanowski hit or gravity-defying Jerry Rice touchdown catch.

Not only will Friday's Oakland Raiders exhibition season opener against St. Louis mark the team's first game since January's devastating Super Bowl loss, it also promises to put football front and center again after months of toxic courtroom chatter in the team's $1.1 billion fraud trial.

But as the new season begins and the trial ends, jurors should be deliberating by the time players take the field.

The game marks a good time to ask a question of the Raiders and their primary courtroom opponents, the city of Oakland and Alameda County.

Where do we go from here?

Both the Raiders and local officials say they want the same things -- winners on the field and at the ticket office. Furthermore, they say coming together during the final eight years of the team's lease in Oakland is the best way to ensure that success.

"This isn't personal; this is business," said Oakland City Council President Ignacio De La Fuente. "We don't have the luxury of picking and choosing. The Raiders are our tenants. We have to make this work."

But mending fences won't be easy, especially in the wake of 15 weeks of fulminating about betrayal, lies and cutthroat fiscal opportunism in a Sacramento courtroom.

The Raiders claimed they were tricked into an Oakland return with false promises of sold-out games.

Even basic questions about filling Network Associates Coliseum, and making the Raiders-East Bay partnership a financial winner, easily lead the primary players into a blame game.

One of the primary hindrances to ticket sales, De La Fuente says, is Raider unwillingness to commit long-term to Oakland.

But Raiders senior assistant Bruce Allen says the Raiders' struggle to sell out their stadium each year lies in failure to market the team, the job handled by the publicly funded Oakland Football Marketing Association.

"We have the best record in the NFL since 1963," Allen said. "Generating interest in this team should be a piece of cake, but they refuse to abide by the terms of the lease and spend the money it takes to market the team."

Which leads De La Fuente to say that lease terms are not being breached, and that the team should focus on football rather than paying lawyers. He notes an attendance surge in recent years as team performance has improved.

Allen says it was local governments who originally sued the Raiders for trying to break their lease, an action that brought a countersuit by the team that's the subject of the ongoing fraud trial.

The bickering makes it seem unrealistic to believe the sides can kiss and make up, but they may have to do just that. The dysfunctional courtship that began in 1995 is on the verge of a crucial new turn.

In just two years, the personal seat licenses that are the backbone of the Raiders season ticket program, and the primary revenue source for local governments seeking to pay off bonds issued to finance the team's return, must be remarketed under the terms of the deal that returned the Raiders to Oakland in 1995.

That means fans may be asked again to shell out up to $4,000 per seat on top of the price of tickets -- already among the most expensive in professional sports.

The remarketing date is crucial to the city and the county because poor PSL sales are a fundamental reason each has had to shell out about $76 million to subsidize finance Coliseum renovation and operating costs central to the original Raiders deal.

The team has about 31,000 PSL holders for the upcoming season. That figure is up about 1,000 from 2002, but for a team with a 60,000-seat-plus stadium and coming off of a Super Bowl year, that is a disappointing figure to Raiders' officials.

"If we aren't successful (at renewing PSLs) then our debt obligation grows and we're looking at another disaster," said Alameda County Supervisor Scott Haggerty, a member of the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Authority board.

But the challenge may be more than effectively hyping a good football team.

The expense, distribution snafus that have plagued the season-ticket program and other factors have combined over the years to make "PSL" a derogatory term.

Asking fans to buy in again may be like asking Rice, who is pushing 41, to carry the team for another 15 seasons.

"To put up that kind of investment again, the way they've handled it, there's no way," said Mike Nittoli, 43, of Livermore, an original PSL holder.

"Why buy a PSL when you don't get anything in return? All I get from the Raiders is one hassle after another over my tickets, and a bill in the mail."

Fan discontent makes coming together more crucial, De La Fuente said.

After all, the PSL program's second phase could raise up to $70 million to help Oakland and Alameda County pay off their debts.

But De La Fuente said success probably can only lie in a creative new spin on the PSL program, one that takes the bad taste from the mouths of fans and kindles a new level of fan interest.

The catch is the Raiders and their public hosts must sign off on any alterations to the ticket program.

"Together we must sit down and look at our options, and we have to do it yesterday," De La Fuente said. "This thing is coming. It's a challenge that neither we nor the Raiders can hide from."


Raiders Football Dispute Takes the Field
Jeff Chorney
The Recorder

The $1 billion battle over the Raiders' return to Oakland, Calif., began with a pun and ended with a fumble Monday as powerhouse attorneys squared off in front of jurors for the first time.

The pun was made by Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Richard Park as he prepared the 12 jurors and three alternates for a trial that he expects to last at least two months. Sidebars, Park told jurors, were "not to hide the ball from you, but to make a decision in court."

The fumble came from defense attorney James Brosnahan, whom the judge dinged for mentioning to jurors an earlier phase of the litigation.

It might be an understandable error given the legal tangle between Oakland and the Raiders. The trial stems from a 1997 suit filed by the city of Oakland and the county of Alameda over fears that the Raiders football team, freshly moved from Los Angeles to the East Bay, would try to get out of its 15-year lease. The matter now before jurors, though, is the Raiders' countersuit, alleging that negotiators fraudulently reported ticket sales in order to persuade the franchise to return to Oakland -- the city the team had left a decade earlier.

Although the claim against Oakland and Alameda County will be handled in arbitration, taxpayers could eventually shell out damages if the Raiders win at the Sacramento trial. That's because those public entities indemnified their chief negotiator, politically connected Dublin businessman Edwin DeSilva.

Any light moments created by Park's opening pun evaporated when the Raiders' lead trial attorney, Roger Dreyer, who is managing partner at Dreyer, Babich, Buccola & Callaham in Sacramento, began an opening statement that went on for 3 1/2 hours.

"This case ... deals with what is true, what is false. It deals with representations that were made that were false," Dreyer said.

He appeared well aware that if he wants a chance at winning, he's going to have to keep things simple. Outside court, Dreyer pointed out that 10 of the jurors are women, "not football fans." He said he wants them to think about business, not sports.

Inside court, Dreyer stood in front of a large screen displaying a complex, animated PowerPoint presentation. Using timelines, blowups of documents and photographs, Dreyer walked jurors through a quick history of the Raiders before leading a more detailed lesson in sports franchise economics.

The Raiders allege the defendants made fraudulent and negligent misrepresentations and breached good faith and fair dealing. The heart of the case is the negotiators' portrayal of personal seat licenses (PSLs), a ticketing scheme where people buy the right to purchase season tickets for a decade at a time.

When used as part of a marketing plan, PSLs can be very lucrative for teams, guaranteeing stadium sellouts for years at a time, according to sports marketing experts.

Dreyer also alleged the defendants were motivated by desperation. Because the Oakland A's baseball and Golden State Warriors basketball teams were threatening to leave, negotiators were willing to say anything to get the Raiders to move back to Oakland, he said.

Dreyer said negotiators told the Raiders that PSLs sold out in 1995, the year the team signed its new lease. But the PSLs weren't working. In fact, the Raiders allege negotiators so badly flubbed the marketing that they damaged the team's ability to make money for the rest of the lease. The lease runs until 2010.

The Raiders say they would never have signed such a long lease if they knew the reality of ticket sales.
After Dreyer, DeSilva's attorney, Morrison & Foerster partner Brosnahan, got up to tell a different story.
"What is this about fraud, and what will the evidence show?" Brosnahan asked in a chatty, down-home style. "There's so much to talk to you about, you can tell I don't know what to tell you first."

He explained the two main thrusts of his defense. First, he said the Raiders knew the true status of the ticket sales. Also, the Raiders signed a very detailed, 190-page document that said nothing about guaranteed sellouts, Brosnahan said.

"And now they come years later. 'Oh, they said something to us about it being sold out and we want hundreds of millions of dollars,'" Brosnahan said while holding up a copy of the document. Part of his strategy appears to be trying to portray the Raiders and team owner Al Davis as greedy.

The fumble came about half an hour into Brosnahan's talk, when he violated one of the motions in limine by bringing up the Raiders' earlier attempts to get out of their Oakland lease. Out of the jury's presence, Dreyer objected. Judge Park agreed but said he wasn't sure that admonishing the jury to ignore it was the best cure.
Park said he would rather the attorneys just move on with the openings.

Also named in the case as defendants are the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, which also is represented by San Francisco-based Morrison & Foerster and Brosnahan, and troubled accounting firm Arthur Andersen, which is represented by Stan Roman of San Francisco's Krieg, Keller, Sloan, Reilley & Roman and Frederick Fields of San Francisco's Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass.

The Raiders have calculated a range of compensatory damages from $450 million to more than $1 billion.
The case is City of Oakland v. Oakland Raiders, 97AS06708.


Trial start delayed in Oakland Raiders' $1.1 billion lawsuit

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A Sacramento County judge has delayed the start of the trial for a $1.1 billion suit in which the Oakland Raiders claim they fraudulently were lured back to Oakland in 1995 with promises of sellout crowds that never materialized.

Superior Court Judge Joe S. Gray granted the request from the Raiders and Arthur Andersen LLP to give them more time to review and authenticate documents and hold new depositions if necessary.

Attorneys for the Raiders, the City of Oakland and Alameda County initially agreed to begin the jury selection for the trial July 2.

Raiders attorney Kenneth Hausman said Tuesday he hopes the trial won't begin until early next year. A call to an attorney representing the city and county was not immediately returned.

Raiders attorneys allege the NFL team's owners signed agreements to return to Oakland in 1995 after the city falsely told them all the seats in the stadium had been sold. The lawsuit was filed in 1997.

In pretrial proceedings, the presiding judge ruled the Raiders could not sue the City of Oakland or Alameda County for fraud because the team waited too long to file the complaint and because they are public agencies.

But the team still can sue the defunct Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Corp., which oversaw the team's move from Los Angeles back to Oakland. That body was made up of representatives from the city and county.

Gray ruled in February that attorneys for the city and county cannot bring up evidence at the trial to try to support their contention that the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Corp. was a public entity.

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