Four MLB Teams Called Out for Potential Misuse of Revenue-Sharing Funds

The Miami Marlins, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Tampa Bay Rays are under scrutiny as the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) filed a grievance against them on February 23, 2018. The grievance called into question whether their use of revenue-sharing funds has been consistent with the teams’ collective bargaining agreement. The collective bargaining agreement names its “principle objective” as “promot[ing] the growth of the Game and the industry on an individual Club and on an aggregate basis.” In doing so, the agreement requires that…
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MLB Fans Swing ‘n Miss on Safety Netting Suit in Ninth Circuit

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that Gail Payne and Stephanie Smith lack standing to seek an order requiring more safety netting and other protective measures at all Major League Baseball ballparks, pointing to the League’s evidence indicating that the risk of injury is very slim. The Ninth Circuit refused to reinstate the lawsuit, affirming U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers’ ruling in November 2016 that tossed out the suit. Judge Rogers had agreed that injuries to baseball spectators, especially children, are more severe…
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Supreme Court Again Refuses to Hear Case Involving Antitrust Exemption for MLB

The U. S. Supreme Court will not be hearing the latest in a long-line of antitrust suits filed against Major League Baseball, as it was determined Monday that the city of San Jose’s petition for certiorari was denied.  The city had filed the petition in response to a dismissal on appeal in the Ninth Circuit earlier in January of this year. The antitrust lawsuit came about in 2013 after San Jose had unsuccessfully attempted to relocate the Oakland Athletics an hour South along the Californian…
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Nothing but Net: Lawsuit Seeks Safety Netting for MLB Ballparks

On Monday, July 13, Oakland Athletics season-ticket holder Gail Payne filed a federal lawsuit seeking to force Major League Baseball to extend the safety netting at each of the ballparks.  The lawsuit seeks class-action status on behalf of all fans who purchase season tickets in currently unprotected areas of MLB ballparks.  It seeks no monetary compensation and instead insists that the league install safety netting from foul pole to foul pole. Among other arguments, the lawsuit provides examples of serious injuries that have occurred at…
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San Jose Takes MLB Antitrust Case to Supreme Court

As anticipated, the San Jose City Council unanimously voted to appeal the antitrust case challenging MLB’s antitrust exemption. The dispute arose when San Jose’s attempt to relocate the Oakland Athletics to the South Bay was halted by the MLB’s territorial restrictions.  In the lawsuit, the city argued that the territorial rule granting the San Francisco Giants club the right to block the A’s relocation as well as alleged stalling by an MLB relocation committee violated antitrust laws. After the district court dismissed the suit, the…
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City of San Jose resumes its fight against MLB’s Antitrust Exemption

Last fall U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Whyte dismissed a lawsuit filed by the city of San Jose against Major League Baseball (MLB) in which the city claimed that MLB had wrongfully prevented San Jose from enticing the Oakland A’s to relocate to Silicon Valley. Judge Whyte had reasoned that MLB’s antitrust exemption – a status bestowed on the league in a 1922 Supreme Court decision – barred the suit and required that the action be dismissed. On March 5, city attorneys filed a brief…
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City of San Jose Loses Heart of Lawsuit Against Major League Baseball

A San Jose federal judge recently dismissed part of the City of San Jose’s lawsuit against Major League Baseball (MLB) over the league’s lack of action on a proposed move by the Oakland Athletics. The judge granted MLB’s motion to dismiss in part but also denied it in part. Most significantly, Judge Ronald M. Whyte held that the league’s antitrust exemption ultimately precluded San Jose’s claims against MLB under the Sherman Act. The Athletics’ owner had been pushing to move the team out…
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