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Antitrust case against Minor League Baseball can proceed in Florida

Florida takes a narrower view of baseball’s antitrust exemption than the rest of the country

While many people across the country are excited about the return of baseball, Jim Evans does not feel quite so kindly toward America’s pastime. The former umpire is proceeding with an antitrust lawsuit against Minor League Baseball in perhaps the only venue he could do so—Florida.

Most courts love baseball just as much as hot dog-eating fans do, and would readily dismiss an antitrust lawsuit against the sport, because baseball is exempt from antitrust law, according to three Supreme Court rulings. But in 1994, Florida’s Supreme Court said that this exemption only applied to certain characteristics, but not the general business of baseball.

Evans’ lawsuit claims that Minor League Baseball sought to eliminate competition in the training of new umpires when it started its own training academy and decertified Evans’, forcing him to shut down business. In Orange County court, Judge Lisa Munyon rejected the league’s motion to dismiss the suit, ruling that Evans could proceed. Though the league encouraged Munyon to adopt the broad view of baseball’s antitrust exemption favored by the 11th Circuit, she stuck with the Florida Supreme Court’s interpretation, writing that she did not have to "blindly follow the opinions of lower federal courts, when the Florida court believes the federal decisions to be poorly reasoned."

Read more at Thomson Reuters.


For more InsideCounsel stories about baseball, see below:

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Dewey & LeBoeuf seeks $13 million for LA Dodgers bankruptcy case

New York Mets settle with Madoff victims for $162 million

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