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One of the country’s leading makers of high-tech scoreboards for pro sports stadiums has sued the Florida Marlins baseball team, claiming it defaulted on payment for a new scoreboard for the Brevard County Manatees, a Marlins farm team. Trans-Lux West Corp. of Logan, Utah, filed a breach of contract suit on June 7 in Miami-Dade Circuit Court. The suit alleges that the Marlins have failed to pay $417,711 on a $599,000 customized electronic scoreboard and video display the team ordered in December 1999 to replace the old, hand-operated one at Space Coast Stadium in Melbourne where the Manatees play and the Marlins conduct spring training. The suit seeks compensatory damages, lost profits and legal and court fees. Christopher Dawes, a partner at Haley Singara & Perez in Miami who is representing Trans-Lux, says he had not expected legal action to be necessary to compel the Marlins to fulfill the contract with Trans-Lux, a division of Integrated Systems Engineering. Until last fall, he says, the team had said that it was prepared to pay up. “We thought this was a done deal,” Dawes says. “Now we have a spectacular, state-of-the-art scoreboard just collecting dust in a warehouse in Utah.” Trans-Lux, which has built scoreboards for the Dallas Cowboys and other pro teams, has been “ready, willing and able” to deliver the scoreboard to the Marlins since February of last year, according to the suit. But the team has “failed and refused to take delivery of the scoreboard since March 2000.” Maria Armella, a spokeswoman for the Marlins, said she was unaware of the suit. Michael Whittle, general counsel for the Marlins, did not return a phone call seeking comment. Dawes says he delivered a courtesy copy of the suit to Whittle last week. The Marlins announced recently that the team, which had a $23.7 million payroll, lost about $10 million last year. The Marlins ended the fiscal year 2000 with $67.3 million in sales. The team, which has been averaging only 14,778 fans a game and has been steadily losing money and games for the last couple of years, has been seeking public funding to build a new stadium. Marlins owner John Henry has said that without a stadium in downtown Miami to replace Pro Player Stadium, the franchise cannot survive in South Florida. The Marlins’ hope for public aid in building a new $385 million stadium suffered a big setback last month when the Florida Senate adjourned before considering a bill that would have let Miami residents vote on whether to extend the city’s parking surcharge for 40 years to help pay for the facility. Trans-Lux, a manufacturer, distributor and servicer of electronic information displays, has clients that include stock and commodity exchanges, financial institutions, airports, casinos, convention centers, corporations and governments. Trans-Lux also owns and operates a chain of movie theaters in the Rocky Mountain region. For the fiscal year ending in December, the company’s revenues rose 6 percent over the previous year, to $66.8 million. Dawes says he still hopes that his client and the Marlins can reach a fair and amicable agreement. “We’re willing to work this out,” he says. “It’s a great scoreboard. We’d like to see it put into the stadium for everyone to enjoy.”

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