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Mall's contract dispute could affect sports teams

Florida sports fans and mall-lovers may be watching the Giants and the Jets as they pursue their litigation against the construction of a megamall adjacent to their home stadium. The sports teams claim that the construction of the complex is a sort of breach of contract, as the teams were not consulted about changes to construction of the project. They believe the megamall will have adverse affects on the MetLife stadium where they play, and on the teams' home games.

The main issue concerning the megamall complex seems to be about traffic flow. The team had initially approved of the construction of the American Dream complex, then titled Xanadu, when the mall was only to encompass 4.8 million square feet. Now that the project is intended to be expanded to encompass some 7.5 million square feet, the teams foresee substantial traffic and parking problems that could negatively affect attendance at their games.

At this time, the teams are suing both New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority and the Triple Five Group that is behind the construction of the American Dream complex. They argue that the NJSEA and the Triple Five Group failed to consult them when increasing the size of the mall, as well as by failing to gain prior written consent from the teams on any changes to the project. Part of the lawsuit was dismissed recently, when the court ruled it was too early to consider the issues as the project had yet not been given final approval.

In the end, the teams accept the ruling. Nevertheless, they say that if their concerns are not considered, they will continue to seek legal action against the two parties for breach of contract. It remains to be seen what effect the legal action will have on future discussions between the parties. The teams continue to look for meaningful consultation that specifically addresses the parking and traffic flow concerns they have raised. Whether in Florida or anywhere these types of disputes are regularly negotiated and, when reasonable solutions cannot be achieved, our courts are left interpreting the contracts which have been agreed to.

Source: SI.com, "Judge: Giants, Jets suit over megamall premature," Aug. 9, 2012

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