SeaWorld looks to move rent case to federal court

October 20, 2023, 8:29 PM · SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment has filed to move the City of San Diego's case against it to federal court.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported today that the company yesterday filed a notice of removal to switch the case from California Superior Court to U.S. federal court, arguing that is the proper jurisdiction as SeaWorld is incorporated in Delaware and headquarted in Orlando.

The City of San Diego filed suit against SeaWorld last month over what it claims is more than $12 million in unpaid rent, interest and fees for the Mission Bay property that it leases to SeaWorld San Diego. The amount in question is about $8.9 million in unpaid rent plus $3.4 million in interest charges and late fees.

The SeaWorld San Diego theme park was closed to the public from March 2020 through April 2021 due to California's pandemic lockdown. However, SeaWorld maintained its zoological operations in Mission Bay throughout the lockdown, and the facility was cleared to open to the public as a zoo for part of that time.

The City has offered SeaWorld a repayment plan for the back rent, however, SeaWorld has disputed that it owes the amount that the city is charging. SeaWorld faced a Monday deadline to respond to the city's lawsuit.

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Replies (2)

October 23, 2023 at 8:16 AM

So is Sea World really challenging that because California locked down businesses that they weren't required to pay rent? What a load of B.S. This would set a ridiculous precedent if successful, which is to say SW's chances of winning here (other than a reduction in interest and late fees) are between ZERO and 0.0.

October 23, 2023 at 4:55 PM

Yeah, I find this absolutely infuriating and look forward to SeaWorld being handed a big L in this case.

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