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Wrigley rooftop clubs file breach of contract suit against Cubs

Georgia baseball fans and sports history buffs alike know that Wrigley Field is part of the history of the sport. Since 2004, the field has been undergoing renovations costing nearly $375 million. At that time, the Cubs signed a contract with the rooftop clubs regarding the renovations. As part of the revitalization of the field, the Cubs now want to install advertising signage and video scoreboards above the bleachers, which the rooftop clubs say violates their agreement. A breach of contract suit was filed in Jan. 2015 to stop the installation.

Most recently, the rooftop clubs asked the court to issue a temporary restraining order to prevent the installation of the signs and scoreboard claiming that they would block the clubs' views and eventually cause the businesses to close. That may not be the end of the case, however, because the business owners would like to permanently block the installation. The controversy centers around two sentences contained in the contract, which is 10 pages long.

Reports indicate that the language is ambiguous and is subject to interpretation. Of particular interest is the use of the word "expansion" in the sentences. The Cubs believe the signage and scoreboard are allowed under the team's right to expand the stadium upward, but, of course, the rooftop clubs disagree as they realize that the signs would cost them business.

It will be up to the court to determine the fate of Wrigley Field and the rooftop clubs, and fans may keep track of the progress of the case. For those businesses in Georgia who are not directly impacted by the outcome, the important part to remember is that contracts need to be as clear as possible in order to minimize the risk of the language being misinterpreted and to avoid ending up in court. Many breach of contract lawsuits surround ambiguous terminology, resulting in cases that can go either way.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "Rooftop clubs ask judge to stop new Wrigley signs from being installed", Ameet Sachdev, Feb. 18, 2015

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