Judge orders arbitration in D-backs lawsuit over stadium

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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A judge has refused to dismiss the Arizona Diamondbacks' lawsuit against Maricopa County over Chase Field but ordered the two sides to participate in proceedings intended to resolve the dispute without going to trial.

Superior Court Judge Karen Mullins' ruling released Thursday says the Diamondbacks' agreement for use of the county-owned stadium requires that the sides use arbitration to settle their differences.

The Diamondbacks sued the county Stadium District in January to remove a clause from their stadium lease so the team could look to move elsewhere.

The county then asked that the suit be dismissed and the case be referred to arbitration over the team's demands for stadium maintenance and improvements.

Chase Field is 19 years old and the Diamondbacks' lease requires the team to play there until 2028.

[Read the ruling here: bit.ly/2wTBBSB]

“This is a significant step in the process and one that favors our attempt to expedite a resolution to a difficult situation for our fans and our organization," Ken Kendrick, D-backs managing partner said. "We need to secure a long-term stadium solution and cannot afford to let Chase Field fall further into disrepair with no alternative stadium solution available.”

"As we stated at the hearing in front of Judge Mullins, we are anxious to have the dispute settled as soon as possible so we are very pleased that the Judge feels the same way and we consider this a victory towards an expedited process," D-back President and CEP Derrick Hall agreed. "We look forward to proceeding with mediation and will encourage a quick resolution.”

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