Miller Barondess successfully represented the City of Inglewood and its Mayor James Butts against Madison Square Garden’s (MSG) attempts to block construction of a new arena in Inglewood for the LA Clippers of the National Basketball Association. After nearly three years of hard-fought litigation, the case settled by way of Clippers owner Steve Ballmer purchasing The Forum in May 2020, taking another step towards the Clippers building their very own state-of-the-art arena in Inglewood.
Miller Barondess attorneys played a key role in defending the City and Mayor Butts against MSG’s claims; and worked hand-in-glove with the lawyers for the Clippers.
As soon as the Clippers announced their plans in 2017 to build an arena in Inglewood, MSG, then owner of The Forum, waged an all-out campaign to prevent the arena from being built.
In 2018, MSG sued Inglewood and Mayor Butts alleging they induced MSG into surrendering its parking lease for several acres of city property on which the Clippers planned to build the new arena. MSG also started a resident group that it was the only known member of, bankrolled six other lawsuits to stop the arena, and funded the mayoral campaign of an individual running against Mayor Butts (who lost 65% to 17%). It was all-out war.
Miller Barondess mounted an aggressive defense in response to the lawsuits—it briefed and argued several discovery motions; filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings; took and defended more than 50 depositions; served substantial written and document discovery; and filed a summary judgment motion along with the Clippers. Miller Barondess also successfully defended and got dismissed three of the related lawsuits. On the heels of these victories, and the filing of its summary judgment motion, the parties reached a settlement with Ballmer purchasing The Forum and MSG dropping all opposition to the project.
While there are still several hurdles that need to be overcome, including certain approvals by the Inglewood City Council, the Clippers arena is close to becoming a reality. With the new arena being a short distance from The Forum and across from the SoFi Stadium, the new home of the LA Rams and Chargers opening later this year, the City of Inglewood is poised to become the sports and entertainment capital of the West. This will bring millions of dollars in revenue, jobs and commerce to the City.
This is a great result for the City, the Mayor and the residents of Inglewood and Southern California; and we are very proud to have represented them.
The Miller Barondess team, led by partner Skip Miller, included partners Jason Tokoro and Mira Hashmall, associates Kiva Schrager, Daniel Paluch, Casey Sypek, Bernadette Bolan, and Ryan Mackey, and paralegals Ricky Reis, Scarlet Speakmoore, Louise Goldwire, and Jenni Bain.