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Attorneys for owners of the team formerly known as the Sonics want a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by Sonics fans.
By Percy Allen
Seattle Times staff reporter
Clay Bennett's attorneys described a damage claim from three former Sonics fans as legally flawed and asked U.S. District Court Judge Richard Jones in a motion filed Friday in federal court to dismiss the claim.
Sonics fans Robert Brotherson, Patrick Sheehy and Carolyn Bechtel are pursuing a class-action suit against Bennett on behalf of 1,387 season-ticket holders who renewed tickets for the 2007-08 season, citing a team promotion that it would "freeze" price increases during two additional seasons in Seattle.
Because the team moved to Oklahoma City, the group seeks to force Bennett to honor his promise and force the Thunder to offer nearly 1,400 Sonics fans tickets to games at the Ford Center at the same price for the next two years.
Seattle attorney Frederick Schoepflin authored the proposed remedy, based on a study from Seattle-based economist Robert Moss. The remedy would also require Bennett to pay travel costs for Sonics fans.
Bennett attorney John Tondini argued the claims are without merit because plaintiffs did not prepay for any season beyond 2007-08. "Plaintiffs claim that promotion of a KeyArena ticket-price freeze carried with it an unspoken, never stated or written, but 'inferred' contractual promise that the Sonics would play in Seattle for the next two seasons," Tondini wrote. "From that inference, they now claim a contract-damages remedy measured by what the fictional resale profit would be if you could buy tickets at the guaranteed price to see the Sonics in Seattle and somehow, sell them to people for higher prices to be used to see the Thunder play in a different arena in Oklahoma City.
"This whimsical theory fails."
Jones has set a March 2 trial date.
Ever since I first heard about this lawsuit, and the strange remedy it called for, I thought it never had a chance. It's like throwing a rock up in the air and expecting it to fly. In fact, it makes about the same amount of sense. I'd be surprised if the lawsuit doesn't get tossed out.
It's going to be a sticky wicket if it doesn't, as I doubt these were people sitting up in the Loud City equivalent of Key Arena. 8 game mini-pack for each?
Originally Posted by Wrap10
[Obligatory] "Slade Gorton's going to show you hillbillies a thing or two" [/Obligatory]
We've talked a lot about the strict language that the Thunder has about reselling tickets. I wonder if this case is behind that?