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Whistleblower Sues Little League Baseball Inc.

     CHICAGO (CN) — A whistleblower claims in court that he has received death threats due to Little League Baseball’s cover-up of the Jackie Robinson West scandal.
     In August 2014, Jackie Robinson West became the first team comprised of only black players to win the U.S. title in the Little League World Series. The team later was stripped of its wins after several players were found to live outside of the team’s boundaries.
     The scandal was a public relations blow to Little League Baseball, who has just signed a $60 million broadcast rights deal with ESPN.
     Chris Janes sued Little League Baseball Inc. (LLBI) in federal court on Monday.
     Janes says he brought the players’ residency issue to LLBI’s attention in August 2014, as media attention surrounding the Jackie Robinson West team brought the discrepancies to light.
     “In response, LLBI decided to engage in an attempt to cover-up the cheating and harm the whistleblower Chris Janes,” the complaint states.
     “As part of that cover-up, LLBI announced on or around December 16, 2014 that Janes claims had no merit.
     “Janes has been subjected to threats of violence, death and accusations of racism as a result of the publicity.”
     Kevin Fountain, Little League Baseball’s Director of Media Relations, said in an email that it is the organization’s policy not to comment on pending litigation.
     “While we have not yet been served with the lawsuit, once it is received and thoroughly reviewed with our legal counsel, we will respond through the appropriate legal process,” Fountain wrote.
     Janes claims that from December 2014 to Feb. 11, 2015, LLBI refused to release its boundary maps and went on a campaign to harm his reputation.
     “In the face of mounting publicity that proved that Plaintiff Janes’ claims were valid, LLBI changed its opinion on February 11, 2015 and revoked JRW’s U.S. title, finding JRW and its Administrator falsified a boundary map to place players on their team ‘who did not qualify to play because they lived outside the team’s boundaries,'” the complaint states.
     In June 2015, attorneys for Jackie Robinson West filed a lawsuit seeking more information about its accusers.
     Janes says he has suffered depression, anxiety, loss of consortium and has been fearful for the safety of him and his family. Janes seeks $75,000 in damages for Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress or in alternative Negligent Infliction of Emotional Distress.
     Janes is represented by Christopher Langone of Langone, Batson & Lavery.

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