clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

At last, the rooftop lawsuit against the Cubs has reached the end of the road

Their final appeal failed Monday.

The right-field video board and Sheffield rooftops, August 21, 2015
David Sameshima

When the Cubs first began construction of the outfield video boards at Wrigley Field, the owner of a couple of the rooftop clubs on Sheffield whose views would be blocked by the board attempted to get this construction stopped.

In Feburary 2015, they filed for a restraining order to get construction stopped. It was not granted. A further filing claimed the businesses would be hurt financially.

A few weeks later, a permanent injunction was requested. That, too, was denied by federal judge Virginia Kendall.

The boards went up, but the legal action continued. In October 2015 Judge Kendall dismissed the federal lawsuit that had been brought by the rooftop owners, and later that month they tried to get her to reconsider; no go there, either.

The case made its way through the federal appeals court process, and Monday the appeal reached its final destination:

The Supreme Court is leaving in place a court decision dismissing a lawsuit filed against the Chicago Cubs by the owners of rooftop clubs adjacent to Wrigley Field.

Skybox on Sheffield and Lakeview Baseball Club sued the Cubs in 2015, arguing in part that a right-field video board the team was adding would block their views of the ballpark and violate terms of a 2004 revenue-sharing agreement.

A federal judge dismissed the case. Judge Virginia Kendall said the board was allowed because the agreement allowed “any expansion of Wrigley Field approved by governmental authorities.”

A three-judge panel of the 7th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in September upheld the decision to dismiss the case. The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear the case, leaving the lower court decisions in place.

And so, the original contract language cited above, regarding “any expansion of Wrigley Field approved by governmental authorities,” wound up being the key to the rooftops losing their case. The video boards are now in their fourth season and have been generally well-received, and the Supreme Court declining to hear the case was likely the expected resolution to this saga.

I pass this along only because this is now the final word on a case that was covered in detail here over the years (previous articles linked above), and now, it’s over.

UPDATE: The Cubs issued a statement on this via press release.

We are thrilled the Supreme Court of the United States today affirmed the Cubs’ right to renovate and improve Wrigley Field. In declining to review the case brought by rooftop owners, the Supreme Court let stand previous court decisions and upheld the legal position the Cubs have advocated for more than a decade.

The opposition of rooftop owners and local aldermen to Wrigley Field renovations has unfortunately cost the team time and energy to refute allegations we understood from the beginning were meritless.

We thank our fans who stood with us in the process. The Cubs have the greatest fans in baseball and we hope to continue to reward their dedication by standing for what we believe is right: winning baseball, preserving and improving Wrigley Field and being a good neighbor. While it is unfortunate we have to defend challenges like this from those who have benefitted from Cubs baseball, we will continue to do so and will always put the history, tradition and the future of the team and our fans first.