Legal battle over Clippers' proposed Inglewood arena is over

Nathan Fenno
The site where the proposed Clippers arena is to be built in Inglewood.  (Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times)

The legal brawl over the billion-dollar arena the Clippers plan to build in Inglewood has come to a quiet end.

Attorneys filed papers Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court to dismiss five lawsuits filed or backed by the Madison Square Garden Co. that opposed the arena project.

The move came the day after Clippers owner Steve Ballmer closed on his $400-million purchase of the Forum from MSG, settling a dispute that started when the Clippers announced their arena project in June 2017.

MSG sued Inglewood and Mayor James T. Butts Jr. over the arena in 2018, alleging the company was tricked into surrendering its lease to use vacant city-owned land for overflow parking at the Forum. That land would be used to make way for the arena project. Murphy’s Bowl LLC, the Clippers-controlled company behind the project, countersued. The bitter litigation included the production of internal emails, text messages and scores of depositions, among them Ballmer, New York Knicks owner and MSG executive chairman James Dolan, and Lakers owner Jeanie Buss.

MSG sued a city-related agency later in 2018 and, earlier this year, sued Gov. Gavin Newsom and the state’s Joint Legislative Budget Committee over legislation that fast-tracked the project.

According to court filings, MSG paid legal fees for a community group called Inglewood Residents Against Takings and Evictions, or IRATE, that filed two lawsuits over the arena.

The group lost the first case, which accused Inglewood of violating state environmental law, but appealed. A second case targeted city-related agencies. Both cases were among those included in the motions to dismiss Tuesday.

Among the caveats in the agreement for MSG to sell the Forum is the requirement for the company to provide a list of “every person, entity, or organization, who is, or has ever been, a member of IRATE.”