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Hearing on city casino suit postponed

A hearing on a motion to dismiss a lawsuit seeking to stop construction of the Horseshoe Baltimore casino has been postponed until September.

G. Macy Nelson, an attorney for the plaintiffs, said the hearing originally scheduled for Monday was postponed after he filed an amended complaint with the Baltimore City Circuit Court.

The lawsuit, filed by Nelson on behalf of city residents in May, says Baltimore is breaking state law by letting chemicals embedded in soil at the proposed casino site run into the Middle Branch. City attorneys filed to dismiss the lawsuit this month.

Nelson said Friday he amended the complaint to better “parse” legal arguments that the city was illegally allowing chemicals to be discharged into water near the site. The amendment forced postponement of the hearing until Sept. 16.

The lawsuit is just one in a flurry of legal challenges filed against the city casino, which is the only commercial gambling facility approved by the General Assembly in 2007 and voters in 2008 that has yet to open its doors.

A group led by Caesars Entertainment Corp. wants to build a $400 million casino off Russell Street, where Maryland Chemical Co. once stood. Arsenic, chromium and tetrachloroethylene have been found in soil there by the Maryland Department of the Environment.

The casino, which operator CBAC Gaming LLC hopes to open in a year’s time, has traveled a litigious path. Nelson also filed a federal Clean Water Act lawsuit this month on behalf of two city residents, and attorney Timothy R. Henderson said in a letter this month that he intends to file another federal lawsuit, claiming casino construction has contaminated the Middle Branch.

Whiting-Turner Contracting Co. broke ground on the casino and a 4,000-space parking garage in late May.