Judge throws out lawsuit against Sonics arena

Feb 22, 2013

A King County judge has thrown out a lawsuit aimed at blocking a deal to build a new basketball arena in Seattle. That removes one obstacle to bringing back the Sonics NBA team.

Superior Court Judge Douglass North sided with attorneys for Chris Hansen. He’s the wealthy hedge fund investor trying to buy the Sacramento Kings to restore the NBA here in Seattle.

The International Longshore and Warehouse Union had brought the lawsuit. They argued that the deal signed between the city of Seattle, King County and Hansen made the proposed arena location in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood a fait accompli.

Judge North said the deal is not binding and that the city and county can reject the plan later on depending on the results of the environmental review. Jack McCullough is an attorney for Chris Hansen.

"I think we got over a hurdle in the sense that we were able to put this litigation behind us and really stay focused on the environmental review and working the permit through the city," McCullough said.

Lawyers for the longshore union say they’re disappointed. They said the deal puts the SoDo location on the fast track and eliminates the possibility of the city or county opting for another location.

They say it’s too early to determine whether they’ll appeal the decision. But they intend to bird-dog the environmental review process carefully to make sure that traffic and freight congestion issues are taken seriously.