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Though he sacked part of the case, a Sacramento Superior Court judge has allowed the Oakland Raiders’ $1 billion complaint against Oakland and Alameda County to remain in play. On Tuesday, Judge Joe Gray dismissed the portion of the Raiders’ complaint that the city and county acted in bad faith in contract negotiations to keep the team in Oakland through 2011. But he did not rule on claims that the two agencies misled the team on how many tickets had been sold for the 1995 season — the Raiders’ first in the Bay Area after a 12-year stint in Los Angeles. And law firms representing both sides are trading volleys over what Gray’s action means for the $1 billion damage claim made by the Raiders. The team says the money will cover lost ticket sales. Gray’s ruling Tuesday hinged on whether the Raiders filed their bad-faith claim in a timely manner. The Raiders “were well aware of the claim that they had been misled by the end of the 1995 season, but elected not to pursue it,” Gray said. “They decided instead to wait and see if attendance would improve.” Arturo Gonzalez, a partner at Morrison & Foerster and one of the attorneys for Oakland and the county, said this delay in filing a claim negated the Raiders’ bad faith charge and should negate their claims of fraud, mistake and breach of contract. “If the Raiders had been defrauded in 1995, they would have been screaming bloody murder,” Gonzalez said. “Unfortunately, ticket sales didn’t go as well as people had hoped,” and the Raiders filed a complaint in 1998 to get out of their contract. However, Kenneth Hausman, a partner at Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin, said the Raiders’ claims for fraud and misrepresentation are not barred by Judge Gray’s ruling. The judge has said that even if the city and county made a mistake, Hausman said, “we can recover damages now. We don’t have to prove intent.” The legal skirmish began two years ago when the city and county sought a court order that the football team remain in Oakland. The Raiders then filed a counter-suit claiming they had been misled by both public agencies as to the number of tickets sold for the 1995 season. The judge will consider the remaining fraud and misrepresentation claims at a future hearing, which Gonzalez said would probably be some time in September. A conference to set a trial date is scheduled for Dec. 18.

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