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,…
Continue reading...

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.…
Continue reading...

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…
Continue reading...

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.…
Continue reading...

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.…
Continue reading...

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…
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...

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...

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...

Major League Broadcasting Challenged by Blacked-Out Fans

The National Hockey League and Major League Baseball broadcasting policies are headed for trial after the dismissal of their motions for summary judgment in an antitrust lawsuit last week. The plaintiffs are a class of frustrated NHL and MLB sports fans who filed a lawsuit against the organizations two years ago, claiming the restrictions on local television broadcasting (including blackouts) violate sections of the Sherman Antitrust Act.  The lawsuit alleges that broadcasting territory restrictions and collusion between the leagues and the broadcasting companies unfairly increases…
Continue reading...