The Way to San Jose: Not Through Federal Court

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Frustrated with the inability of the Oakland Athletics to commit to relocate to San Jose in the face of the territorial objections of the San Francisco Giants – and by the failure of Major League Baseball (MLB) to bring the issue up for the requisite vote of its owners – the City of San Jose sued the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball and Commissioner Allan Huber “Bud” Selig earlier this year.

The City’s complaint, filed in federal court in San Jose, asserted antitrust claims under the Sherman Act and California’s Cartwright Act, as well as claims for unfair competition and for tortious interference with contractual and prospective business advantage under California law. The MLB defendants moved to dismiss the City’s claims, and a hearing on that motion was held before U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte on October 4, 2013. On October 11, Judge Whyte issued an order dismissing San Jose’s antitrust claims and its unfair competition claim, but allowing its interference claims to proceed beyond the pleading stage.

Originally published in the Sports Litigation Alert on October 18, 2013.

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