Los Angeles Dodgers try to Leave Ballgame by Transferring Jackie Robinson Contracts to Foundation

In a dispute over a pair of Jackie Robinson contracts, the Los Angeles Dodgers told a New York federal court that it transferred its purported interest in the contracts to the Jackie Robinson Foundation. As we reported  in October, the Dodgers entered a legal dispute over two of Jackie Robinson’s historic contracts. One is his 1947 contract with the then-Brooklyn Dodgers, in which he became the first African-American to play in Major League Baseball. The other is his 1945 contract with the Kansas City Monarchs,…
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Players’ Unions v. Jock Taxes: An Inside Look at This Waging Legal Battle

Last week, we reported that the NHL Players’ Association, MLB Players’ Association, and NFL Players’ Association sued the city of Pittsburgh for charging a fee on nonresident professional athletes that play within the city. These fees, often referred to as jock taxes, have come under fire over the past few years. The players’ associations are not challenging the legality of jock taxes in general. It is well established that states and municipalities have the right to tax income earned by athletes in their jurisdiction.…
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NFL, MLB, and NHL Players’ Associations Sue Pittsburgh Over “Unconstitutional” Athletes Fee

The city of Pittsburgh is being challenged for a fee it is charging  nonresident professional athletes who play for Pittsburgh teams. The NHL Players’ Association, MLB Players’ Association, and NFL Players’ Association, along with baseball player Jeff Francoeur and hockey players Kyle Palmieri and Scott Wilson, have sued the city of Pittsburgh. The city currently imposes a three percent general revenue income fee on professional athletes who reside out of state. Athletes who live in the city, however, pay only a one percent fee. Pittsburgh…
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MLB Umpire Joe West Sues Ex-Player Paul Lo Duca for Defamation Over Bribery Claims

Major League Baseball umpire Joe West has filed a lawsuit against ex-player Paul Lo Duca, alleging that Lo Duca defamed West by falsely accusing him of bribery. In one of his podcasts this past April, Lo Duca claimed that a teammate told him that West engaged in bribery. That teammate, Billy Wagner, allegedly told Lo Duca at a 2006 or 2007 New York Mets v. Philadelphia Phillies game that he lent West his 1957 Chevrolet in exchange for opening up the strike zone for him.…
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Dodgers Enter Legal Fight Over Valuable Jackie Robinson Contracts

The Los Angeles Dodgers will enter a legal dispute regarding the ownership of two of Jackie Robinson’s player contracts, which may be worth as much as $10 million. In 2013, Collector’s Café, run by Mykalai Kontilai, purchased two of Jackie Robinson’s MLB contracts for $2 million. One is Robinson’s historic 1947 contract with the then-Brooklyn Dodgers, in which he became the first African American to play in the MLB. The second is Robinson’s 1945 contract with the Kansas City Monarchs, the Dodgers’ minor league affiliate.…
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MLB Proposes Significant Changes to MiLB

When the dust settles on the next Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA), which is the binding agreement between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball (MiLB), some MiLB teams may find themselves in search of a new home.  After receiving an extension in 2011 that kept the relationship status quo, the current PBA expires on September 15, 2020 and significant changes are expected. According to leaked reports, negotiations include a proposed restructuring of teams participating in the lower level of MiLB, transitioning short-season rookie ball…
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MLB Opposes Umpire’s Request to Withdraw Confidentiality Designations in Discrimination Lawsuit

Major League Baseball has asked a federal magistrate judge to reject umpire Angel Hernandez’s request to eliminate confidentiality designations in his racial discrimination lawsuit against the league. As we reported earlier, MLB umpire Angel Hernandez sued the league in July 2017, alleging that they discriminated against him based on his race. Hernandez has not worked the World Series since 2005 and, despite applying numerous times, was denied a promotion to crew chief. He alleged that these rejections were racially motivated and that chief baseball officer,…
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Phillie Phanatic Creators Fire Back with New Filing

Wade Harrison and Bonnie Erickson, credited with designing the Philadelphia Phillies’ mascot, the Phanatic, have filed a reply to a lawsuit alleging that the creators were threatening the baseball club with pulling the team’s rights to use the mascot. The creators have described the lawsuit by the Phillies as a “weapon.” At issue is whether the creators of the Phanatic can use the Copyright Act’s termination right – a rule made to allow authors to regain control over works they created, but signed away. The…
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The Death of Tyler Skaggs and Potential Liability of the Los Angeles Angels

On July 1, 2019, Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher, Tyler Skaggs, was found dead in a hotel room in Texas several hours before his team was scheduled to play the Texas Rangers. The police in Southlake, Texas, said they found Skaggs, 27, dead in a room at the team hotel after responding to a call about an unconscious male. After an autopsy was performed, it was discovered that Skaggs died by choking on vomit after using drugs and alcohol, according to the Tarrant County, Texas…
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Cubs ADA Lawsuit Narrowed but Can Continue, Judge Rules

A lawsuit against the Chicago Cubs for failing to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will be allowed to continue, a federal judge ruled.  In December 2017, David Cerda filed a lawsuit alleging that the Cubs violated the ADA by failing to provide enough seating for wheelchair users at Wrigley Field. Cerda, who has Duchenne muscular dystrophy and needs a wheelchair for mobility, claimed that the ADA requires the Cubs to offer 217 accessible seats and that the Cubs only offered 42…
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