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 …Continue Reading
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, …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
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 …Continue Reading
Judge Recuses Himself from TCPA Lawsuit Against Tampa Bay Rays
After consulting with an ethics opinion, Florida U.S. Magistrate Judge Anthony E. Porcelli recused himself from a proposed class action lawsuit, which accuses the MLB’s Tampa Bay Rays of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by sending spam text messages.
According to the order, Judge Porcelli stated that he “. . . find[s] it appropriate to recuse myself from these proceedings, as my impartiality might be reasonably questioned.” Specifically, Judge Porcelli admittedly communicated with several members of the Rays organization when he was …Continue Reading
City of Phanatic Love: Phillies Face Lawsuit Over Beloved Mascot
He’s green, a little mean, and often obscene – it’s the mascot everyone loves to hate, the infamous Phillie Phanatic. After the filing of a new federal lawsuit, however, there’s an ominous question looming of whether the 41-year-old relationship will continue in the city of brotherly love.
Back on August 2, 2019, the Philadelphia Phillies filed a copyright lawsuit in federal court against Harrison/Erickson, Inc. (H/E) over the future use of the Phanatic as a mascot. Reportedly, H/E asserts that its primary members, Bonnie and …Continue Reading
ADA Lawsuits Regarding Sightlines Could Lead to Expensive MLB Stadium Renovations
Major League Baseball (MLB) organizations and their stadiums are facing expensive potential renovations to adhere to The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) guidelines following numerous lawsuits. This includes a lawsuit filed on behalf of four disabled Seattle Mariners fans in 2018 along with separate lawsuits against the Baltimore Orioles and Chicago Cubs. The ADA requires qualified employers to provide reasonable accommodations to employees with disabilities, and imposes accessibility requirements on public accommodations.
The lawsuits allege that some MLB stadiums fail to comply …Continue Reading
Widow of Victim Locked in Cooler at Sun Trust Park Sues Atlanta Braves
Angela Keeling, the widow of Marvin “Todd” Keeling, has sued the Atlanta Braves, as well as more than a dozen other companies that provide services at SunTrust Park, for his death after being locked inside a stadium cooler. The complaint states that the Braves knew the cooler door release mechanism was “faulty . . . improperly constructed, assembled, maintained, and allowed to exist despite notice . . .” but never fixed it.
On June 26, 2018, Keeling was an “invitee servicing and finalizing the installation …Continue Reading
Plaintiffs File Lawsuit Against Seattle Mariners and Ballpark for Allegedly Providing Inadequate Accommodations for Those With Disabilities
A nonprofit disabilities-rights law firm filed a lawsuit on behalf of four disabled Seattle Mariners fans in October 2018 against the Mariners and the Washington State Major League Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District, which owns the team’s ballpark, T-Mobile Park. The four plaintiffs claim that the ballpark violated state and federal law, including the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1991 (ADA). These plaintiffs are Washington residents who claim they encountered issues with seating, food service, or access to certain parts of the stadium and endured …Continue Reading