A’s break out their own legal heavyweights

The Merc’s Internal Affairs column has revealed that A’s ownership has brought a big gun to what could be future legal proceedings against the Giants – or at least the Giants’ astroturf group, Stand for San Jose. In this case it’s trial lawyer Allen Ruby, best known in the sports world as Barry Bonds’ attorney in the slugger’s perjury case. Ruby is a partner at Skadden Arps, one the largest law firms in the world.

Ruby successfully defended the NFL against the Raiders, as well as former San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzales when he was brought up on corruption charges. MLB teams can’t sue each other or baseball due to a clause in the sport’s constitution. MLB tends to handle its business within the confines of its ownership ranks, a method furthered under Bud Selig. That doesn’t leave out the possibility of a team going outside to sue a city or team on non-baseball grounds, as the Giants have done. If anything, bringing on Ruby is like a country stockpiling nuclear weapons during the Cold War. No one intends to actually use them, but the possibility is there. Personally, I don’t think this ever sees a trial, so we won’t get to see Ruby in a courtroom representing the A’s.

Also onboard is Cecily T. Barclay, a partner with Perkins Coie whose specialty is land use and entitlements. Coie was named 2012 San Francisco Land Use & Zoning Law Lawyer of the Year by industry website Best Lawyers, and has worked on a number of large projects throughout the Bay Area, including the Lennar/Hunters Point project, the Cargill Saltworks/Redwood City plan, and Rivermark in Santa Clara.

As impressive as this legal firepower is, I hope it never has to get used, because if it does it only means more delays for the A’s.

17 thoughts on “A’s break out their own legal heavyweights

  1. R.M.,
    The way I read this article, this legal team was brought on to answer to the frivolous lawsuit brought forth by Stand for San Francisco: EIR wasn’t adequate and offering discounted land to Wolff was illegal. With the help of Ruby, Wolff and SJ have answered to this nonsense, and Ruby is now looking forward to watching A’s baseball in a beautiful downtown SJ ballpark. Am I correct?

  2. @Tony D. – You just regurgitated bits of the article. Not sure what the point of that was.

  3. The part that struck me was the “scared” part. I don’t think that part of the story is by accident. The A’s not only want to make as sure as possible the Stand for SJ lawsuit gets dismissed (though it certainly seems it would with a lesser known law firm), they want to send a shot across the bow of the Giants. It’s the equivalent of conducting war games near the border of your enemy. A sending of a message that we mean 110% BUSINESS! IMHO the Giants will, eventually, no longer financially support the Stand for SJ proceedings. As of this moment the Giants subterfuge with Stand for SJ has not received much media attention. Moving forward, these big guns of the A’s going against big guns of several phantom SJ residents will make for much wider media coverage. A story that seemingly would leave a bad taste in the mouths of many regarding the Giants (the Giants must know their subterfuge would make them look bad).
    As to reading this story and seeing this as the A’s hiring legal guns to fight the TR issue? I don’t see that as obvious. It could be their motivation. It could be that the A’s have gotten signals that TR are affirmed and they are sending a shot across the Lodge’s bow. Or it could be they hired the big guns as advisers to the negotiation process. Or it could be a signal that all the big guns are there simply to fight Stand for SJ or even legitimate anti stadium movements. Or of course the big guns past involvement in pro sport league cases of team vs league could also be coincidental (the A’s simply wanted a law firm that was experienced in sports league issues).
    The one thing this story certainly does mean is the issue of the A’s being given permission to go to SJ is coming to a head. Big guns like this do not come aboard and do not speak to the media about it unless there is action clearly on the horizon. Let’s all hope the upcoming action is coming REALLY soon.

  4. good! a’s have placed nicey nice for too many years and like the aggressive approached they’ve used over the last few months.

  5. My bad R.M. for the earlier regurgitation. I guess the point I was trying to make is that this move has more to do with taking on groups like Stand for SF/Better Sense SJ (and their lawsuits, present and possible future) than a territorial rights battle with the Giants/MLB. TW put it perfectly in his above post. In fact, IMHO (emphasis on opinion) I believe this could signal that no referendum will be necessary once the A’s/SJ get the green light from MLB.

    Think about it: Selig/MLB are moving mountains to open up SCCo for the A’s. In doing so, they most certainly want a San Jose ballpark to be 100% gauranteed before announcing a deal/getting approval from MLB owners. Would they do this knowing a public vote has a chance (however small) of killing a ballpark project? Especially (as TW put it in the last thread) if lies, deception become part of an anti-ballpark campaign?

    Something I’ve also regurgitated far to often on this blog is that 1) if not one dime of city funding goes into ballpark construction and 2) if Wolff buys/leases the land at market value, a public vote isn’t necessary per SJ Muni Code. Heck, even a discounted land sale is technically not subject to a referendum. The wording of SJ Muni Code as it relates to a public vote for venues seating +5k is as plain as day.

    Add in the legal guns (specializing in land use and entitlements) who are fighting the current frivolous lawsuit, and the stars are aligning for this thing to be fast tracked once MLB gives the go ahead. (Seriously, if the EIR is upheld and SJ abides by its own Muni Code to a tee, what else legally could ballpark opponents do?)

    Someone in an earlier thread said we shouldn’t be getting to excited by recent developments re the A’s and SJ…you know what, I’M GETTING EXCITED!

  6. As it has been pointed out the TR deal doesn’t get done with the lawsuit in place, Selig said so himself. So either they are going to work to knock this out right away and then go to negotiation or they are negotiating with Johnson/Baer now to get the suit killed along with TR being done. I think the fear in actual legal action taking place is correct, but Im hopeful that these two are being brought in to show the Giants that the A’s aren’t going away and the Giants need to consider the path they want to take with this. Will they be practical or do they want to go to war with the A’s on this. Let’s hope its the former and not the latter cuz look for 2017 or 2018 for a new stadium if that is the case.

    ML won’t these two be kept on board the whole stadium process to get this thing locked up from TR to shovel to completion? Seems like their areas of expertise, particularly Barclay would be perfect for that. Land-Use law in CA is heady stuff, have a few friends focusing on it.

  7. I like it: “Certainly nobody should be afraid of me,” Ruby told IA good-naturedly. “And I am very much looking forward to going to an A’s game in a beautiful ballpark in downtown San Jose.”

  8. Back in January Selig said that he wanted to make sure there were no lawsuits before moving forward. Bringing Ruby aboard is a major step in ensuring that. That is good.

  9. BTW,
    just read Barclay’s profile…NOW EVEN MORE EXCITED! Bartleby, if your reading this, perhaps you could provide your legal take on this latest development (at your earliest convenience of course).

  10. I really think Selig is going to have to give the Giants the following choices:
    * Back off and take this settlement we’re imposing since you refuse to negotiate.
    * We are taking your franchise away from you and will sell it to cooperative owners who want to be part of the MLB team, not fight the rest of us….

  11. @pjk

    In theory that sounds good, but I can’t think of any instance were Selig has handled business that way.

    It appears like things are moving forward and that’s a good thing. Perhaps there will be a decision in December 2012. If the decision is against the Gnats, then they can point to the Mayan calender as confirmation the world has ended.

  12. @ mrsteve5150 – …”they can point to the Mayan calender as confirmation the world has ended.” Or Ron Paul has finally won the election! BTW, Van Halen or insane past?

  13. @Columbo

    5150 has to do with work and the people I work with. Sometimes the people I work for too.

  14. Retaining Allen Ruby, now with Skadden Arps, and Perkins Coie to litigate a small writ of mandate proceeding certainly sends a message: The A’s are willing to spend some money to defend San Jose’s deal, and they want publicity for doing so. The plaintiffs, however, probably don’t care. Their lawsuit wasn’t much of a threat to begin with. The errors they’re attacking could be fixed if they win. Their lawyers, the SF firm that has represented the SF Giants for decades, won’t be impressed by a defense team they know. The Giants and A’s are playing out a sort of farcical exhibition. If you bring a bunch of professional sluggers to a little league field, both sides will hit lots of HRs.

  15. Tony – you may have a very good argument as to why a referendum would not be required, the fact remains that the city (Reed and the Council) have stated that they will do so. Doubtful they go back on that. And I see no reason for concern. It will pass easily.

  16. First of all, thank you for this informative article, this is the best website I’ve discovered since Athletics Nation . Every time there’s something newsworthy regarding the A’s move to S.J., it’s difficult to know if one(A’s fan) should be excited or sad? Usually, you’re just more confused!! The Giants owners are an arrogant and selfish bunch of multimillionaires who couldn’t care less about what’s best for baseball and its fans, particularly A’s fans. In short, they’re evil!! What doesn’t make any sense is why most of the local media has taken the Giants side, where are their principles?? It’s mindboggling !! My father was a journalist, who never would have compromised his integrity. Shame, shame on any journalist that puts a spin on this that makes the Giants look squeaky clean. When in fact, if they succeed, they’ll break the hearts of thousands of Bay Area A’s fans!

  17. Pingback: Why isn't downtown San Jose better? - Page 9 - City-Data Forum

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