Judge rejects Anaheim's plea for Angels name change

Updated: March 2, 2006, 3:58 PM ET
Associated Press

SANTA ANA, Calif. -- A judge rejected a request Thursday by the city of Anaheim to force the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to change their name back to the Anaheim Angels.

Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter J. Polos ruled that he had no authority to reverse the ruling of a jury that three weeks ago decided in the team's favor.

The jury found that the Angels didn't breach a contract with the city when owner Arte Moreno changed their name in January 2005.

"In this case, the jury found no wrongdoing, so in my view you don't get to damages and you don't get to an injunction," Polos said while hearing arguments from lawyers.

Outside court, Mayor Pro Tem Richard Chavez said Anaheim has yet to decide whether to appeal the case. He said city leaders will meet March 7 to discuss the issue.

Last month, the jury also declined to award damages, although attorneys for the city had asked for as much as $373 million in lost tourism revenue, publicity and "impressions" -- a reference to the national buzz Anaheim got every time its name was used in conjunction with Major League Baseball.

The city sued the team for breach of contract last January, shortly after owner Moreno changed the name to Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The city's lawsuit accused the team not only of breach of contract but of violating a state law that requires good faith and fair dealing in all contracts.

The Angels began play in 1961 as the Los Angeles Angels, becoming the California Angels when the team moved from Los Angeles to Anaheim in 1966. The name was changed to the Anaheim Angels after The Walt Disney Co. bought the team from founding owner Gene Autry.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press