A week after a federal appellate court rejected San Jose’s lawsuit challenging Major League Baseball’s exemption from antitrust laws, the City Council voted to appeal the case to the highest court.
San Jose sued MLB in 2012 in an effort to eliminate territorial restrictions that the league has used to keep the Athletics from moving to the South Bay. Had MLB worked with San Jose “in good faith,” Mayor Sam Liccardo says, the South Bay would have a world-class stadium by now and millions of dollars in new tax revenue that could fund police, libraries and other city services.
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig formed a committee six years ago to study the A’s relocation from the decrepit O.co Coliseum. Nothing ever came of it. San Jose felt backed into a corner—and no one puts baby in the corner!—so it decided to sue. Attorneys from the firm Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy are taking the case to the U.S. Supreme Court on contingency, which means taxpayers aren’t subsidizing the lawsuit.
“Litigation was our last recourse, and the City Council knew from the outset that success would likely require a ruling from the U.S. Supreme Court to revisit the 1922 decision that created MLB’s exemption from antitrust laws,” Liccardo said. “Every other professional sport in America and every other American industry must abide by antitrust laws.” He went on to add that the league’s “antiquated exception, and the sense of entitlement displayed by the league’s billionaire owners … is outrageous.”