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 and claims for unfair competition and for tortious interference with contractual and prospective business advantage under California law. The MLB defendants moved to dismiss all of the City’s claims. On October 11, Judge Whyte issued an order dismissing San Jose’s antitrust and unfair competition claims, but allowing its interference claims to proceed beyond the pleading stage.
This article examines Judge Whyte’s reasoning and the potential implications of his ruling for the City of San Jose, MLB, the Oakland A’s, and other MLB clubs.
This article was originally published in the October 18, 2013 edition of the Sports Litigation Alert. Permission for article reprint has been granted.