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Volume 24 No. 117
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          Franklin County Common Pleas Court Judge John Bessey
     issued a "directed verdict" against Lamar Hunt in the NHL
     Blue Jackets contract dispute "without giving the case to
     the jury," according to Bruce Cadwallader of the COLUMBUS
     DISPATCH.  Attorneys for both sides had asked for a directed
     verdict.  Bessey ruled that Hunt "wasn't improperly forced
     out of the ownership group" of the Blue Jackets, and that he
     committed a "'flagrant' violation of the business contract
     by taking legal actions against" former partners John
     McConnell and John Wolfe "without consulting other members"
     of the ownership group Columbus Hockey Limited.  Hunt claims
     that McConnell and Wolfe breached their contract with him by
     obtaining the Blue Jackets without him.  Anthony Celebrezze
     Jr., Hunt's lead attorney, said, "We're going to review the
     ruling, but it's safe to say there will be an appeal on this
     part of the case and we'll be appealing again the contract
     issues which we've said all along are the critical issues in
     this case."  A second trial will be called "to determine
     financial damages against Hunt" (COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 5/15). 
          ESCAPE TO NEW YORK: Hunt is pursuing a similar suit
     against the NHL and Nationwide Mutual Insurance in New York,
     which seeks $50M in damages and aims to prevent the league
     from placing a team in Columbus.  But John Zeiger, one of
     the attorneys for McConnell and Wolfe, said, "We think the
     New York court will be very respectful of Judge Bessey's
     ruling today" (Bruce Cadwallader, COLUMBUS DISPATCH, 5/15).