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Anaheim ends legal battle over renaming of Angels

The city had sued after owner Arte Moreno changed that name to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim but lost rounds in Superior Court and state appellate court. The fight cost the city $4 million.

January 15, 2009|Bill Shaikin

The Anaheim City Council voted unanimously Tuesday night to end its legal challenge to the Angels' name change.

After losing in an Orange County Superior Court jury trial in 2006 and before a state appellate court panel last month, the city's only recourse would have been to appeal to the California Supreme Court.

As expected, the council voted "to take no further legal action" against the baseball team, Mayor Curt Pringle said.

In 1996, the city agreed to spend $20 million on stadium renovations, and the Walt Disney Co., then the owner of the team, changed the club name from California Angels to Anaheim Angels.

But the lease that formalized that agreement required only that the club name "include the name Anaheim therein."

When Arte Moreno, who bought the team from Disney in 2003, changed the name to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the city sued.

Both the original jury that heard the case in 2006 and the appeals court found that that name did not violate the lease.

The city spent about $4 million on the legal battle, an amount Pringle said was warranted because the name change deprived Anaheim of what it believed was the benefit of its name appearing in sports stories and on television broadcasts around the world. That exposure, Pringle said, was intended to drive tourists and conventions to a city heavily dependent on both.

"We all felt we had a legal and fiduciary responsibility to protect the taxpayers of Anaheim," he said. "We believe that was what was most important in defending the name of the team."

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bill.shaikin@latimes.com

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