COA sides with Live Nation in naming dispute

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Indiana Court of Appeals has affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the Murat Temple Association’s claim that Live Nation Worldwide violated terms of its lease agreement.

MTA claims that Live Nation, which leases the MTA’s Indianapolis 1909 Murat Theatre Building and 1922 Mosque Building, breached its contract when it sold naming rights for those spaces to Old National Bank. But according to terms of the lease, Live Nation is entitled to the rights “enjoyed by the owner of the building,” and therefore is entitled to publicly rename the premises, the appeals court held.

The dispute began in January 2010 when MTA learned that Live Nation was planning to sell naming rights to part or all of the Shrine Center. On January 28, 2010, MTA delivered a letter to Live Nation stating that MTA’s approval was required for any name change of the leased premises.

On March 16, 2010, Live Nation announced that it had entered into a naming rights agreement with Old National. On that same day, MTA sent a letter to Live Nation and Old National objecting to any name change to the leased premises and asserting that Live Nation lacked the right to rename the leased premises. Nevertheless, Live Nation placed a marquee on the Mosque Building bearing the name “Old National Centre.”

Subsequently, MTA filed a complaint against Live Nation and Old National. MTA accused Live Nation of breach of contract and conversion. MTA accused Old National of conversion, tortious interference with a contractual relationship, and tortious interference with a business relationship.

MTA maintains that by placing a new marquee on the building bearing the name “Old National Centre” and by using the name “Old National Centre” in advertising, Live Nation has effectively and inappropriately renamed the entire Shrine Center, rather than just the leased premises. The appeals court held that according to Article XII of the lease, Live Nation was authorized to place “signs and advertising matter” “upon any part of the leased premises.” The public may perceive the Shrine Center differently due to the installation of the marquee and Live Nation’s use of the Old National Centre name in advertising, but regardless of the public’s perception, Live Nation has not exceeded the scope of its rights under the lease, the appeals court held.

The appeals court stated that in any conversion action, criminal intent is an essential element that must be proven. In Murat Temple Association, Inc. v. Live Nation Worldwide, et al., No. 49A02-1008-PL-952, the MTA alleged that Live Nation and Old National both knew that MTA had objected to their negotiations and had told them that Live Nation had no authority to sell naming rights for the Shrine Center in whole or in part. MTA further alleged that despite that knowledge of MTA’s objection, Live Nation and Old National intentionally and knowingly executed a naming rights agreement, thereby exerting unauthorized control over MTA’s right to publicly name the Shrine Center. However, because the lease authorizes Live Nation to rename the leased premises, MTA’s conversion claim fails, because neither Live Nation nor Old National exerted unauthorized control over MTA’s property, the appeals court held.

The appeals court stated that Section 1.01 of the lease agreement provides a broad grant of authority to Live Nation, including naming rights, and the parties negotiated only one limitation on naming rights, in Section 3.02, which states that Live Nation must retain the phrase “Murat Theatre” in the name of the 1909 Theatre Building. But that clause applies only to “theatre business within the leased premises,” not the entire leased premises.

“Presumably, if MTA had intended to further restrict Live Nation’s authority to rename all or part of the Leased Premises, the parties would have added additional limitations,” the COA wrote in its opinion.


Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues