UPDATE 2:07 PM – I’ve uploaded a copy of the ruling. It’s worth a read.
Additionally, San Jose Mayor Reed’s office released a statement in reaction to the ruling:
I am pleased that the judge has allowed our case to move forward. Major League Baseball’s unfair and anti-competitive actions are costing San Jose residents millions of dollars in annual tax revenues that could go towards paying for more police officers, firefighters, libraries, road repairs and other critical services.
San Jose filed this lawsuit after waiting patiently for more than four years for a decision from Commissioner Selig. The court’s decision this brings us one step closer to paving the way for San Jose to host a major league ballclub.
Update from the Merc’s John Woolfolk on San Jose’s antitrust lawsuit against MLB:
judge mostly rules against San Jose in antitrust lawsuit against MLB, sides with city on state tort claims
— John Woolfolk (@JohnWoolfolk1) October 11, 2013
And other tweets:
— Raj Mathai (@rajmathai) October 11, 2013
BREAKING: Federal judge grants MLB's motion to dismiss San Jose's lawsuit IN PART. Federal antitrust claims dismissed; state claims survive
— Wendy Thurm (@hangingsliders) October 11, 2013
During the hearing last Friday, Judge Ronald Whyte gave indications that he would back MLB based on the standing issue, while allowing San Jose to rework its case and try it in a state court. MLB had pushed for Judge Whyte to dismiss all claims, including those that could be covered by California’s more stringent antitrust laws. San Jose hoped Judge Whyte would rule that the City had standing, which would move the case forward and start a potentially damaging discovery phase for MLB.
Assuming that the tweets above are correct, baseball’s antitrust exemption remains immune to a legal challenge. Instead the case will be about tortious interference, or MLB’s stalling that has prevented San Jose and the A’s from getting a ballpark built. San Jose claimed initially that this amounted to $1.5 million per year in tax revenue, and could be awarded treble damages as a result. Over 30 years that comes to $135 million, not adjusted for inflation.
If San Jose can force discovery into the dealings of its “Blue Ribbon Commission” and other activities related to San Jose and Oakland, it could also force MLB to make a deal since they’re against any kind of opening of their books. There’s a lot more to the TI argument than standing.
A press conference may be in the offing. If it happens I’ll see if I can head out to City Hall.
For now I’ll end with this Bill Shaikin tweet:
Judge in San Jose vs. MLB writes that baseball's antitrust exemption makes no sense but that he is bound by precedent.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) October 11, 2013
Hooray for inertia!