39 months and counting


MLB Commissioner Bud Selig just had his midseason “state of baseball” presser prior to tonight’s All Star Game. He fielded numerous questions about expanded instant replay (not yet), the Mitchell Report (feel good about it), and TV blackouts (working on it). As for the A’s:

There’s a bottle of Balvenie DoubleWood sitting across from me as I write this, and even though it’s early it’s looking really good right about now.

153 Responses to 39 months and counting

  1. bartleby says:

    First off, as I’ve said many times before, I’m in general agreement that a lawsuit challenging the AE is a loser. If the AE is going to be overturned, it will be by Congress and not the courts.
    Further, I’m not a litigator, and don’t deal with standing issues much in my practice. Given I think an AE lawsuit is a loser anyway, I’m not much motivated to spend much time researching esoteric rules of civil procedure. So I’m not claiming particular expertise in this area.
    Having said all that, it seems to me that if San Jose someone found the political will to try to bring a lawsuit challenging the AE, standing would be the least of their worries. If the AE is invalid and MLB’s allocation of territorial rights to the Bay Area therefore illegal under the antitrust laws, then MLB’s preventing the A’s from moving to San Jose arguably constitutes tortious interference with prospective business relations.
    An MLB team is a valuable economic asset to a host city, and San Jose would benefit tremendously from its contemplated deal with the A’s. I don’t think a court would have a tough time finding sufficient injury in this scenario to support standing for San Jose. Certainly I think they’d have an easier time than San Francisco would with the ridiculous claims they were alleging.
    My bet would be, San Jose would clear any procedural hurdles but lose on the merits.

  2. TW says:

    Bartelby, I noticed you used the word “bet” in terms of what you think the outcome would be. In your opinion (as an attorney) is an ATE lawsuit ‘definite not to win’ or would you term it more of a ‘most likely to not win’? Given SJ’s intention has nothing to do with winning an ATE lawsuit (just leveraging MLB’s blessing for the move to SJ), the difference between definite and very unlikely is big.
    MLB is front of their legal team and the legal team says “don’t worry, this is a certainty”, MLB doesn’t lose a wink of sleep over it. If, on the other hand, the legal team says “chances are very good we will win this but know that their is a small chance it could go against us”, SJ just won the first stage of the lawsuit’s real purpose. And if the latter is the reality, at what point does MLB look at what could be gained by a win — versus what could be lost in a defeat — and lose their resolve?
    I can see MLB going to the mat if the Royals wanted to move to Manhattan…..but given the fundamentals here (a move within a two team market, an odd and unfair split compared to other two team markets, Giants were granted it free by the team wishing to move [ironically so the Giants could get a new ballpark]) and given that it will certainly be a $$$ plus to MLB (they will have more bay area fans at MLB parks), is this an issue for MLB to risk that much over? I’m curious for your legal opinion on that hypothesis…….

  3. xootsuit says:

    An action asserting interference with prospective business advantage would be a garden-variety state-law tort action that would not directly implicate the A/T exemption. One element of that tort, however, is independently wrongful conduct related to the interference. Here, theoretically, the City of San Jose as plaintiff, might allege A/T violations as the wrongful conduct. I doubt, however, that the “benefit” — almost entirely indirect and only generally predictable — that a City receives from a sports franchise is the type of prospective business advantage that fulfills the first element of the tort. Maybe it’s possible to concoct a case that would survive demurrer. Interesting idea.
    The rules for antitrust standing and antitrust injury are technical, and unique to that area of the law. Frankly, they’re designed to keep a huge number of injured plaintiffs out of court, and they work. Just last Thursday, in a case involving ATM surcharges, the 9th Circuit issued a decision affirming dismissal of the A/T lawsuit for lack of standing. Happens all the time, without headlines.

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