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Business litigation case: team says city breached contract

Sports agreements between municipalities and private owners of minor league teams are fairly commonplace in Oregon and other states. Sometimes, the agreements don't work out as planned, and disputes arise. These are often over commitments by one or both parties to contribute promised financing or other resources as part of the contract. When the meaning of the contract becomes hopelessly tied up in conflicting accounts, the dispute may end up as a business litigation lawsuit.

One famous ex ballplayer, Cal Ripken Jr., has been in the minor league baseball business since his retirement some 20 years ago. Ripken resorted to business litigation in the form of a breach of contract complaint this past week against the city where his team is located. The lawsuit claims that the city, which owns the ballpark, has failed in its agreement made at the inception of the contract to upgrade and modernize the park.

Ripken's company, Tufton Professional Baseball LLC, sued the city of Aberdeen on allegations that the city failed to live up to its part of the contract. The suit claims that the city recouped its initial $3 million investment but has not reciprocated by performing its promises under the contract. The remedy asked by Tufton is that Ripken's company be allowed to take over management of all baseball and non-baseball events at the stadium.

The lawsuit says that the management provision giving full control to Tufton was in the original contract. It complains that the city has no right to ignore its private contractual obligations. The lawsuit also claims that mediation was attempted between the parties and failed. Similar disputes occur in Oregon and throughout the country, and often, they must be resolved by filing a lawsuit and engaging in a process of business litigation in the courts.

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