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Appeals court dismisses save-the-Igloo lawsuit

| Saturday, April 28, 2012, 8:33 a.m.

The Civic Arena's demolition undermined a preservation group's appeal of a judge's order allowing the structure to be torn down, a federal appeals court ruled Friday.

"It's obvious that the demolition of the arena has rendered this appeal moot," a three-judge panel said in an order dismissing the case.

Preservation Pittsburgh sued Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, the city-county Sports & Exhibition Authority, Federal Highway Administration and several officials with each body in an attempt to save the arena. U.S. District Judge David Cercone ruled in September that because no federal agency or funding was involved in the demolition, he lacked jurisdiction to halt it.

A two-judge panel of the 3rd U.S. District Court of Appeals subsequently denied the group's request for an emergency injunction, and the authority's contractor started the demolition.

Preservation Pittsburgh argued that its lawsuit should still move forward on the grounds that, even with the Igloo almost gone, development of the 28-acre site would affect several other historic buildings in the area including two churches and two schools.

The three-judge panel said those claims are "highly speculative" and not enough to keep the lawsuit alive.

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