MLB filed a motion to dismiss San Jose’s antitrust lawsuit today. The 32-page filing claims that the City’s only agreement with the A’s is the land option on the Diridon ballpark site, and nothing else. This was to be expected.
Perhaps more interestingly, MLB asserted the very thing being attacked, baseball’s antitrust exemption, in the motion. It didn’t have to do this, yet it did and in the process, kind of rubbed the City’s face in it. From page 13:
To withstand a motion to dismiss, Plaintiffs must plausibly demonstrate that Defendants committed an act that is “proscribed by some constitutional, statutory, regulatory, common law, or other determinable legal standard.” Id. at 1159. Here, the only independently wrongful act that Plaintiffs have asserted is an antitrust violation. Since Defendants are exempt from antitrust regulation here, there is no “independently wrongful act.”
In addition, MLB says that it is no “stranger” to the relationship between the A’s and San Jose because of baseball’s covenant including the member clubs. One of the key claims is that since San Jose is not a part of MLB, only a city hoping to host a MLB club, the City has no standing. Consider what that message effectively says to all cities: The teams matter, you don’t.
The motion reads as a pretty vigorous defense of MLB’s business practices, and shows that baseball is intent on not allowing those practices to be changed. Plaintiffs will have a chance to respond before the initial hearing, and just like this filing and the initial filing, it promises to be juicy reading.
I’ll let the armchair legal experts sound off in the comments. The best ones will be added to this post.