Jets, Giants Say Judge Allows Meadowlands Suit to ProceedAndrew Harris and David Voreacos
The National Football League’s New York Jets and Giants can pursue a lawsuit against the developers of a retail and entertainment center at New Jersey’s Meadowlands Sports complex, a judge ruled.
Superior Court Judge Peter E. Doyne in Hackensack, New Jersey, yesterday denied requests by the developers to dismiss the case filed in May, which claims that letting the mall open on Sunday game days would cause overwhelming traffic. The two teams claim the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority breached a 2006 cooperation agreement and the developers interfered with that pact.
Doyne also let construction proceed on a plan by the developers, including Triple Five Worldwide Development Co., to build the project, now known as American Dream. Triple Five claims it would build the world’s largest mall, with 7.5 million square feet and 55 million annual visitors. Construction halted several years ago on the project, previously known as Xanadu.
NJSEA claimed it didn’t break the agreement, arguing that other parties made that decision and saying it found no breach had occurred. The judge rejected this argument.
“Regardless of the NJSEA’s impressive linguistic gymnastics, such sophistry cannot be countenanced,” according to the opinion. “The NJSEA does not have the authority to bind this court to a legal determination regarding a breach of the NJSEA’s own contract.”
In a joint statement, the Giants and Jets said: “We look forward to the case proceeding.”
American Dream is an outgrowth of Xanadu, which used to sit next to the old Giants Stadium. When the stadium was torn down, the teams collaborated in building the $1.6 billion facility they share, MetLife Stadium, which opened in 2010.
“The teams agreed to Xanadu but have not agreed to American Dream,” Doyne wrote. “Plaintiff has presented scenarios where, should American Dream be fully operational, operation and use of the stadium on game days could result in severe adverse effects.”
The judge said the teams conceded they weren’t seeking to block construction, which also includes a water park. He gave them 20 days to modify a request for an injunction.
The teams can proceed on their interference claim against the developers, the judge said. The court dismissed a previous version of the teams’ suit a year ago, concluding it was premature.
The developers sued the teams for obstructing their plans last month.
“The only thing ‘new’ is that the judge denied the team’s request for an injunction and construction can/will go forward,” Alan Marcus, a spokesman for developers including Triple Five, Ameream LLC and other entities, said yesterday in an e-mailed statement.
“The impact of the judge’s decision to let the case go forward is that the teams must still prove there is an adverse impact from the proposed water park and amusement park on game day Sundays,” Marcus said.
The teams’ case is New Meadowlands Stadium Co. v. Triple Five Group Ltd., BER-C-156-13, Bergen County, New Jersey, Superior Court, Chancery Division. The developers’ case is Ameream LLC v. New York Football Giants Inc., Bergen County, New Jersey, Superior Court, Law Division (Hackensack).