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Right Field Rooftops, LLC v. Chicago Baseball Holdings, LLC.

United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
87 F. Supp. 3d 874 (N.D. Ill. 2015)


Facts

Right Field Rooftops, LLC (Rooftops) (plaintiff) owns two buildings across the street from Wrigley Field. Historically, fans enjoyed views into the stadium from neighboring rooftops, and Rooftops sold tickets to view Chicago Cubs games and concerts. In 2002, the Cubs sued Rooftops, and the parties entered a licensing agreement requiring Rooftops to give the Cubs 17 percent of its profits. In exchange, the Cubs agreed not to put up barricades blocking Rooftops’s views. However, the agreement explicitly allowed “any expansion” of Wrigley approved by a “governmental authority.” The relevant section was titled “Wrigley Field bleacher expansion,” but addressed other types of expansion like erecting “windscreens or other barriers.” In 2004, Chicago designated Wrigley a historic landmark, limiting future alterations. In 2009, the Rickettses bought the Cubs, ballpark, and some but not all adjacent rooftop businesses. Soon afterward the Cubs lobbied to renovate Wrigley by increasing bleacher seats and adding giant video boards and billboards that would block Rooftops’s views. After two years of hearings, the city and the landmarks commission approved the plans. Rooftops sued Cubs owners Chicago Cubs Baseball Club LLC, Wrigley Field Holdings, LLC, Chicago Baseball Holdings, LLC, and Thomas Ricketts (defendants) for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and injunction to prevent installation of a jumbotron and other signage. Rooftops argued that the Cubs had a contractual duty under the licensing agreement not to install video boards blocking its views. The court denied the TRO, reasoning the claimants had not shown a strong likelihood of success on the merits, before addressing the request for preliminary injunction.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Kendall, J.)

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