Major League Baseball and New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez are embroiled in a bitter legal feud, and ESPN reports that MLB made the next move on Monday by filing a motion to move A-Rod's lawsuit to a federal court. The league hopes that, once in federal court, a judge will ultimately dismiss the case. The lawsuit, which lists MLB and Commissioner Bud Selig as defendants, is currently filed in the New York State Supreme Court.
Major League Baseball expects that the Collective Bargaining Agreement binds Rodriguez to pursue the appeal of his 211-game suspension through the normal arbitration process, and believes that a federal judge would agree with that line of thinking. According to the notice for removal:
"The Basic Agreement contains an exclusive grievance and arbitration provision (Article XI). The Joint Drug Agreement specifically provides that disputes arising thereunder shall be subject to resolution through the Grievance Procedure of the Basic Agreement, with certain enumerated exceptions that must be resolved pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Joint Drug Agreement. Both agreements provide for the resolution of disputes through private final and binding arbitration."
In what came as a huge surprise to absolutely nobody, A-Rod's lawyers disagreed with whatever MLB just said:
"As is its practice, MLB has chosen to share its filing with the press well before sending it to Mr. Rodriguez's legal team," Joe Tacopina, one of A-Rod's lawyers, said in a statement. "Nonetheless, Mr. Rodriguez's claims against MLB and Commissioner Selig arise from their tortious conduct, separate and apart from the issues being decided in the arbitration process. It is ironic that MLB -- having filed suit in state court in Florida for tortious interference in order to obtain evidence to use in the arbitration proceeding -- now complains that Mr. Rodriguez's tortious interference claim must be heard as part of the arbitration. MLB knows that these state law claims properly belong where they were filed, in the New York State Court."
And around and around and around they go.
Rodriguez filed the suit on Friday, just a few days after his appeal hearings began in front of arbiter Frederic Horowitz. The suit alleges that Selig violated the CBA by trying to "make an example" out of A-Rod in order to appear as the "savior" of baseball, and also accuses Selig of turning a blind eye on the issue of performance-enhancing drugs in the past.