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Sonics have hearing; decision forthcoming

By Darnell Mayberry Published: October 18, 2007
A Washington state federal judge listened to an hour of arguments from attorneys for the city of Seattle and the Sonics on Thursday afternoon and said he would make a ruling on where the case would continue as soon as possible.

Judge Ricardo Martinez, a U.S. District Court Judge for the Western District of Washington, is expected to decide within the next week whether the Sonics can have their case heard by a panel of arbitrators or must stay in court, as the city of Seattle is pushing.

Martinez didn’t set a date for a decision or any future hearings, according to his administrative assistant Melody Byrd.

Seattle City Attorney Tom Carr joined attorneys Paul Lawrence and Jeffrey Johnson on behalf of the city. Paul Taylor and at least one other attorney from the Seattle-based law firm Byrnes and Keller represented the Sonics.

Lawrence declined to comment on the hearing and Taylor couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

Louis Richmond, a spokesman for Byrnes & Keller who attended the hearing, said Martinez informed both parties that he would make his decision via e-mail. Richmond added that the process was professional and respectful, saying attorneys shook hands following the proceeding.

“It was pretty straight forward,” Richmond said.

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