City and Ticats reach tentative settlement in Tim Hortons Field stadium lawsuit

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats and the city have tentatively settled a lawsuit over Tim Horton's Field Stadium arising out of construction delays and months of problems with the stadium after it opened.

The lawsuit stems from construction delays and ongoing problems with the stadium after it opened.

Hamilton Tiger-Cats fans celebrate the opening drive in their new stadium as they take on the Toronto Argonauts during the annual CFL Labour Day Classic and inaugural game at the brand new Tim Hortons Field in Hamilton, Ont., Monday, September 1, 2014. (Aaron Lynett/Canadian Press)

The Hamilton Tiger-Cats have tentatively settled a lawsuit with the province and city over Tim Hortons Field Stadium over who should pay the team damages for construction delays and months of problems with the stadium after it opened.

CBC News learned Thursday that the team has settled its two-year, multimillion-dollar legal dispute with the city, Infrastructure Ontario, the 2015 Toronto Pan Am organizing committee and the consortium that built the stadium.

Details of the settlement were not revealed.

It's considered tentative, city hall sources say, because while the essential issues have been resolved, the remaining sticking point is how the settlement will be conveyed to the public in the coming days.

The Ticats sued after the stadium opened months late in 2014, forcing the team to play elsewhere for part of the season. The stadium has been fraught with malfunctions since then, and the city is still doing repairs.

Infrastructure Ontario oversaw the stadium construction, and hired the Ontario Sports Solutions consortium to build it. The city only took ownership when construction was substantially complete.

The city and Infrastructure Ontario all filed their own court actions in 2016. The city's claim asked for $35 million in damages for breach of contract, negligence and misrepresentation when it came to the planning, procurement, design, construction, project management and other aspects of the stadium. Of that, $14 million in damage awards would be passed on to the Ticats.

A settlement would be good news for local soccer fans, who have wanted to see a professional soccer team at the stadium for years. In the fall, city council swore off soccer talks with the Ticats until the lawsuit was settled.

The settlement paves the way for the team to move forward with plans to bring a soccer team to the city. (The Associated Press)

The Ticats signed a stadium lease with the city in 2014, and that included a one-year rights for a pro soccer team. Last May, Ticats owner Bob Young announced that Hamilton would be a founding city for the new Canadian Premier League (CPL).

In September, someone filed trademarks for the Hamilton Steelers and Hamilton United. The proposed league is a Tier 1 FIFA-sanctioned league.

CBC is pursuing comment from the city and the Ticats.


Samantha Craggs is journalist based in Windsor, Ont. She is executive producer of CBC Windsor and previously worked as a reporter and producer in Hamilton, specializing in politics and city hall. Follow her on Twitter at @SamCraggsCBC, or email her at samantha.craggs@cbc.ca