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Legal Newsbeat

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Boras (via Heyman): Drew, Kendrys ‘damaged;’ MLB disagrees but will investigate

Scott Boras, the agent for top remaining free agents Kendrys Morales and Stephen Drew, came out swinging against the half dozen or so anonymous team executives and officials who negatively speculated in a recent article on the value of those two players. Boras says those unnamed executives and officials are breaking league rules in a recent article by suggesting low player values, issuing critical comments and ultimately hurting their markets.

Boras… said he intends to pursue a grievance, going so far as to urge the league to use subpoena power to unearth their identities…

Boras further says there needs to be a “remedy” for the two free agents, which could mean monetary damages or possibly relief from a two-year-old rule that cost them and a select few others free agents in the marketplace…

The CBA specifically disallows executives from publicly making comments that could deflate players’ markets, both sides agree. And MLB did recently sent out a memo reminding execs to abide by the rule, so the league isn’t suggesting the execs’ comments were appropriate….

In response to the players union statement earlier Friday calling for an investigation, MLB hinted in its statement that other reasons beyond the unnamed comments are likely behind the players’ current predicaments. However, an MLB official said the league accepted the union’s request to launch an investigation into the situation and will do so…

The players union backed Boras’ complaints and issued its own statement earlier Friday.

Union leader Tony Clark said in his statement, “I am angered that numerous baseball executives have blatantly and intentionally violated our collective bargaining agreement by offering to ESPN comments about free agent values of Stephen Drew and Kendrys Morales. These statements undermine the free agent rights of the players and depress the market values. Today, I have called upon the Commissioner’s office to investigate immediately and thoroughly the sources of these statements and to take appropriate action to enforce our agreement.”

Since CBS apparently doesn’t realize that the Internet works because different sites are willing to link to each other, here is the article in question (ESPN Insider).

The District Attorney Posted: April 13, 2014 at 05:25 PM | 28 comment(s)
  Beats: free agents, kendrys morales, legal, scott boras, stephen drew

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

SFGate: Egelko: Baseball Sued Over Low-Minor League Wages

While major-league baseball players earn millions of dollars and club owners share billions in revenues, minor-leaguers are paid $3,000 to $7,500 per season and train for weeks without pay, in violation of minimum wage and labor laws, their attorneys charge in a lawsuit. The suit filed against Major League Baseball and three teams, including the San Francisco Giants, said baseball executives and club owners “have preyed upon minor leaguers, who are powerless to combat the collusive power of the MLB cartel.”

No apparent shortage of labor, though.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Thurm: Rodriguez Arbitration Decision A Clean Sweep For MLB

And I thought this was fast stacking!

Wait a second. The Players Association argued that the maximum penalty was 50 games as a first violation, but that Section 7.G.2 provided the “governing framework”? And that Section 7.A. — which does contain the 50-100-lifetime penalty scheme — doesn’t apply when there has been “continuous use or possession of multiple substances”? Frankly, that doesn’t make a lot of sense, and it makes me wonder if the Players Association didn’t clearly articulate its view of the governing agreements or the arbitrator misconstrued the union’s position.

Moreover, the arbitrator’s interpretation of Section 7.A. omits a key portion of the language. He points to the first part of the section that talks about a player “who tests positive for a Performance Enhancing Substance” (his emphasis) and concludes that the section couldn’t apply to a situation involving evidence of multiples uses of a PED. But he completely ignores the second part of the section: a player who otherwise violates the Program through the possession or use of a Performance Enhancing Substance will be subject to the 50-100-lifetime regime (my emphasis). What does that language mean if it doesn’t apply to players found to have used or possessed PEDs absent a positive drug test?...

In other words, 50-game suspensions can be stacked one on top of the other when MLB has evidence that a player used one or more PEDs on multiple occasions.

Think about that. When a player tests positive for a PED, and it’s the first violation, he is suspended for 50 games. But how many players use a PED only one time and that just happens to be when he is tested? Isn’t is more likely that a player who tests positive for PEDs had used on multiple occasions over an extended period of time?

And yet the arbitrator’s decision grants MLB broad powers to discipline players much more harshly when the league’s own testing program fails and the league develops independent evidence of use.

Whatever you think of Alex Rodriguez, Tony Bosch, and the entire Biogenesis mess, it’s hard to accept such an absurd legal result.

The District Attorney Posted: January 14, 2014 at 02:07 PM | 2 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rodriguez, legal, ped, yankees

Passan: Alex Rodriguez flails in his final, desperate swing

Guys, I’m serious, Neifi Perez is going to have a legacy.

When Neifi Perez tested positive three times in a short period for the same drug, it counted as three positive tests, even if it was for the same substance. Shyam Das, the arbitrator at the time, held that each positive test was a violation subject to separate discipline. This, union sources said, infuriated the MLBPA to the point that in the next round of collective bargaining, the joint drug agreement included a provision that a player could not be penalized more than once for the same PED but could be subject to multiple penalties if one test showed testosterone and another two weeks later human chorionic gonadotropin.

From the start, MLB argued that the Neifi Perez precedent allowed the league to pursue what amounted to three separate cases against Rodriguez. Moreover, rather than the standard punishment based on rule 7(A) of the JDA, which outlines the standard 50/100/lifetime punishment, Rodriguez would be subject to rule 7(G), a catch-all standard that dealt with violations of the program outside of the typical positive test.

It’s an important distinction. While much post-decision curiosity focused on the league’s seeming rewriting of the JDA, the union agreed 7(G) was the proper rule to mete out discipline, lest Rodriguez be punished under 7(A) and get 50 games for HGH, 100 for testosterone and be banned for life because of IGF-1.

The broadness of 7(G)‘s “just cause” standard allowed MLB to pursue the awkward 211-game penalty and for Horowitz to hand out the largest non-lifetime ban of any kind in baseball history due to “the most egregious violations of the JDA reported to date.”

Even without a single positive test, MLB used 7(G) to argue Rodriguez’s continuous use of PEDs more than covered the threshold of a non-analytical positive, a position Horowitz agreed with thanks to the testimony of Bosch and the messages that corroborated his testimony. It was far from a safe case. Whereas with positive drug tests and 7(A) discipline the league almost always wins, sources from both sides of the case believe enough burden and risk exist with 7(G) to prevent the league from taking the Rodriguez precedent and turning it into a new standard meant to abuse the JDA.

Not only would it ruin the begrudgingly respectful labor relationship that has kept baseball work stoppage-free going on two decades, it would apply to every case the sort of comportment – not just using PEDs and lying about it but obstructing the case – that simply has not existed before.

The District Attorney Posted: January 14, 2014 at 01:24 PM | 47 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rodriguez, legal, ped, yankees

Monday, January 13, 2014

A-Rod sues MLB and union to get ban overturned; arbitrator’s decision attached

Here’s the filing.

Alex Rodriguez has turned on his own union.

In an effort to nullify the 162-game suspension he received on Saturday for his alleged involvement with Biogenesis, the Yankees’ beleaguered superstar filed a new lawsuit in Manhattan federal court Monday that names both Major League Baseball (and commissioner Bud Selig) and the MLB Players Association as defendants…

The lawsuit details several complaints in which Team A-Rod alleges the union, long viewed as one of the most effective and powerful unions in the United States, declined to intervene on A-Rod’s behalf. Among them are the failure to stop MLB’s lawsuit against Anthony Bosch, which led to Bosch cooperating with MLB; a refusal to let Rodriguez select his own representative (instead of the PA’s general counsel David Prouty) to the three-person arbitration panel; a lack of effort to halt media leaks about A-Rod’s case and public comments made by Michael Weiner, the former executive director of the Players Association who died on Nov. 21, that implied Rodriguez’s guilt in the matter…

The suit also alleges myriad transgressions by Fredric Horowitz, the independent arbitrator, during the 12-day hearing.

The District Attorney Posted: January 13, 2014 at 06:03 PM | 78 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rodriguez, legal, ped, yankees

Judge denies Alex Rodriguez’s request to seal arbitrator’s decision

Following the precedent set in The World v. The Seinfeld Finale.

A U.S. District Court judge rejected Alex Rodriguez’s request Monday to file a redacted version of a complaint to overturn the arbitration award that would have sealed arbitrator Fredric Horowitz’s written decision on why he hit Rodriguez with a season-long suspension…

“Given the intense public interest in commissioner’s Selig’s disclosures last night it’s difficult to imagine any portion should be under seal,” Pauley said, citing First Amendment considerations and ruling that A-Rod would have to file an unredacted version of a complaint to overturn the arbitration award.

According to attorneys Jordan Siev and Jim McCarroll of the Reed Smith law firm, Rodriguez will file a complaint in the next few hours that is separate from the existing lawsuit Rodriguez has already filed against MLB and commissioner Bud Selig.

The complaint will seek to overturn the arbitration award and the historic suspension. “It’s an attack on the arbitration,” Siev said as he left the courthouse.

The District Attorney Posted: January 13, 2014 at 03:40 PM | 24 comment(s)
  Beats: alex rodriguez, legal, ped, yankees



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