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The Hawks' and Thrashers' ownership dispute is working its way up the legal ladder.

Saying a Maryland Circuit Court turned "upside down" their agreement to buy out part-owner Steve Belkin, the teams' other owners are asking Maryland's highest court to review the case.

In a new court filing, they ask the Maryland Court of Appeals — the equivalent of Georgia's Supreme Court — to hear the case earlier than it ordinarily would "not just because of the important legal issues presented [but also because] these two major professional sports teams are operating under a cloud of uncertainty that hurts the teams, their players, fans, employees and management, as well as the NBA and NHL."

Part-owners Bruce Levenson, Ed Peskowitz, Michael Gearon Jr. and Rutherford Seydel are appealing a June ruling by Montgomery County (Md.) Circuit Court Judge Eric Johnson that Belkin has the right to buy them out at cost because they missed various deadlines in a contract to buy him out.

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