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Thursday, May 30, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

San Jose Throws|Bud Selig a Fast One

LOS ANGELES (CN) - Major League Baseball is unlawfully blocking the Oakland Athletics Baseball Club's move to San Jose, costing the city millions of dollars in revenue, the city claims in court.

For four years, San Jose, the Oakland As and the league have been locked in a fight over the As' request to move from the league's fifth-oldest ballpark to a new stadium in San Jose.

San Jose is fighting legal battles with the league on several fronts.

It appealed to the 9th Circuit a federal judge's ruling that rejected the city's antitrust claims against the league. The 9th Circuit is expected to decide the issue this year.

In a new Superior Court complaint against Commissioner Bud Selig, San Jose claims the league interfered with an agreement to build a new ballpark for the As in the Diridon Station area of the city.

San Jose filed a similar complaint against the league in Santa Cruz County Court this year. The city's lawyer Philip Gregory, with Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, told Courthouse News the case was dismissed from that court because Los Angeles was a more appropriate venue.

One stumbling block to the proposed relocation is a 1990 agreement granting territorial rights to the San Francisco Giants in the County of Santa Clara, which includes San Jose.

The Giants have opposed the Athletics' move based on these territorial rights, established by the league 24 years ago.

But the city says the move makes sense for the As because Santa Clara County is near the baseball club's current home, in Alameda County.

"Moreover, the Athletics are an economically disadvantaged team in an aging stadium in Alameda County which the Athletics must share with the Oakland Raiders (the only arrangement in baseball) and are heavily dependent on revenue sharing from their more well-heeled colleagues," the complaint states.

San Jose says the Commissioner's Office denied the Athletics' request to relocate, on June 17, 2013. The city claims that decision was made in secret and was never explained to the public.

The decision to block the move has shrunk potential tax and sales revenue, the city says. A new ballpark could have created hundreds of new jobs. The city projects that 50 years of personal earnings from jobs at a new park years could reach $2 billion.

San Jose seeks punitive damages for tortious interference with prospective economic advantage and tortious interference with contractual advantage.

It is represented by Joseph Cotchett with Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, of Burlingame.

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball did not immediately respond to a request for comment after business hours Tuesday.

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