Judge rules Murat Centre can keep new name

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Marion County Superior Court Judge John Hanley has dismissed a naming-rights lawsuit brought by The Murat Temple Association against California-based event promoter Live Nation and Evansville-based Old National Bank.

The Murat Temple Association is a Shriners affiliate that owns the Murat Centre, which on March 16 was renamed the “Old National Centre” in a three-year naming-rights deal between the bank and Live Nation. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The Murat Temple Association, which hired Live Nation to manage the facility, sought to block the name change in a lawsuit filed March 26. Live Nation filed a legal request to dismiss the suit in mid-April.

The association's suit alleged that Live Nation's lease does not include rights to rename the building, and that the name change “caused Shriners to be held in lesser light by the general public, who erroneously believe Shriners were responsible for the name change, and from whom money is raised to support … Shriners Hospital for Children.”

Judge Hanley disagreed.

“The rulings are just. We are glad this issue has been resolved quickly by the court system and that we can now focus on providing great quality entertainment without distraction,” Richard S. Franks, Live Nation president, said in a press release.

Live Nation operates the 2,500-seat Murat Theatre, Egyptian room and other rooms within the building at 502 N. New Jersey St. under a long-term lease with the MTA. The lawsuit notes that the lease does not include the basement, the Shrine Museum, the Trian Room or the Kniepe Room, and that the fraternal organization has access to the Murat Theatre and Egyptian Room for its own functions nine times a year.

“We’re disappointed in the ruling, and the Murat Temple Association is considering its options,” said attorney Bryce H. Bennett of Riley, of Bennett and Egloff, which is representing the MTA. "The association has a special meeting set up later this month to discuss this matter.”

Legal experts predicted the case was likely to come down to the language in the lease.

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