The State Supreme Court today decided the Mariners (and the Public Facilities District that runs Safeco Field) should have their day in court in a dispute over stadium repairs, sending a dismissed case back to the lower courts for trial. In 2005, the franchise and the PFD discovered that a protective coating beneath Safeco's jade-green surface had blistered, putting some of the structure's fireproofing at risk. The steelwork was repainted for $2.5 million, but attempts to recover costs from the original contractors lead to a lawsuit that, a lower court decided, was filed too late.
Today, the high court said the lawsuit falls within a disputed time period, known as the "for the benefit of the state" statute of limitations. Thus it was filed in a timely manner and should be heard by a judge. If, in the end, the M's and PFD lose the attempt to recover costs, the public will shoulder the burden. The M's would have to tap into an account called the Excess Revenue Fund, they say, used to reimburse the team for stadium maintenance and repairs. It's funded by taxpayers.