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Read the documents filed in the Orioles-Nationals-MASN lawsuit

Aug 7, 2014, 3:53 PM EDT

lawsuit gavel

I have obtained copies of the documents supporting the temporary restraining order issued today preventing Major League Baseball and the Nationals from enforcing the arbitration which ruled in the Nationals’ favor in connection with its dispute with the Orioles over cable rights fees. They are embedded below. Click on the document name for a larger size.

The upshot of the arguments, for those who do not wish to read: MASN is asking that the arbitration be set aside for conflict of interest for the most part. The argument includes the following claims:

  • The same lawyers represented the Nationals, Major League Baseball and the clubs of the three owners who comprised the arbitration panel;
  • “The three arbitrators, MLB and the Commissioner of Baseball, all had a direct and significant pecuniary interest in the outcome of the arbitration.”
  • The authority set up to determine the amount of money the Nats were supposed to get from MASN “exceeded its authority by intentionally refusing to use its established methodology to determine the fair market value of the telecast rights fees as mandated . . .”

Some of this is silly. Major League Baseball and its clubs, for certain purposes, are always represented by the same counsel and everyone knows this. As such, claims that these alleged conflicts “were not disclosed” don’t seen particularly important here. The one about the panel not being impartial because they are owners of other clubs and thus have a stake — and maybe a conflict — regarding the rights fees may be more legitimate.

It’s worth noting, however, as we noted in the A-Rod/Biogenesis case, that having arbitration awards set aside is extremely difficult.




  1. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    The New York Supreme Court Commercial Division for New York County issued a temporary restraining order Thursday in response to Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s petition to block the decision. The court would hold a hearing on a permanent injunction later this month.

    The court also rejected MLB’s request to close the record, meaning documents filed by the Nationals and MASN will be made publicly available.,0,5883207.story

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:12 PM

      This is going to be VERY interesting.

      • SocraticGadfly - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:55 PM

        Is Angelos on the latest Biogenesis list? :)

  2. [citation needed] fka COPO - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:22 PM

    With caveats abound, Craig could you give us your in initial impression on how this’ll go from reading these documents? Or any other labor lawyer in the house?

    • yankeefan1950 - Aug 7, 2014 at 4:44 PM

      I’m not a labor lawyer but I did stay in a Holiday Inn once. My impression is that once an arbitrator makes a decision, its final. It will have to be determined that MLB committed willful deceit and that’s near impossible. Heck, they committed willful deceit in the Biogenesis fiasco and still won.

    • scoutsaysweitersisabust - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:32 PM

      The big question I have is just how badly does MLB want to keep their internal documents private? That may be the key here as MLB may fold here and attempt to come to a comprise that’s more to the Orioles’ liking…

      • natstowngreg - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:34 PM

        That might happen. However, fans tend to forget about the other party in this dispute–the Nats’ owners. The Lerners aren’t about to be bullied by Angelos. I wouldn’t assume that they would go along if MLB HQ cut a deal to give the Nats less than they would get through the arbitration.

  3. ch0psuey - Aug 7, 2014 at 5:36 PM

    Freakin Lawyers man. Everybody needs em at one point but nobody wants em around…

    • dakotah55 - Aug 7, 2014 at 6:17 PM

      Alas, its true. You can’t live with them, you can’t live without them.

  4. simon94022 - Aug 7, 2014 at 8:36 PM

    Whatever “conflict of interest” may exist was known to MASN and the Orioles sheen they agreed to this arbitration procedure in their contract.

    Peter Angelo’s is just plain dishonest. You cannot sign a contract with the man and expect him to honor it when it no longer works to his advantage.

    • DJ MC - Aug 7, 2014 at 9:34 PM

      I know. And in contrast the Nationals and MLB would never do something like that. And certainly not leading to this exact situation.

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