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Ellerbe And HOK Entangled In Sprint Center Design Lawsuit

KANSAS CITY, MO (CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Two architecture firms collaborating on the design of the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO, became tangled in a legal battle Wednesday when one sued the other for hiring away five architects.

Ellerbe Becket, based in Minneapolis, has alleged that HOK Sport + Venue + Event’s Kansas City office “breached a handshake agreement with Ellerbe Becket not to solicit Ellerbe Becket employees during the course of a collaborative project,” according to The Business Journal.

HOK Senior Principle Rick Martin said in a written statement that his firm holds the design contract for the Sprint Center arena and that the lawsuit won’t affect progress on the project.

On March 3, all five principal architects in Ellerbe Becket’s Kansas City sports architecture practice announced plans to leave the company for jobs at HOK.

The suit alleges that HOK is trying to eliminate Ellerbe Becket as a competitor. It names HOK and architects Brad Clark, David Orlowski, Michael Clay, Stephen Hotujac and Michael Sabatini as defendants, alleging that by leaving, the architects violated “fair dealing agreements” they signed when they first started working at Ellerbe Becket.

The suit asks for damages and injunctions against HOK and Ellerbe Becket’s former principals barring them from violating the fair-dealing agreements. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers