Lawsuits

Judge Denies Request for Injunction to Keep Baseball All-Star Game in Georgia

The disastrous oral argument produced a quick ruling from the bench.

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The lawsuit filed by Howard Kleinhendler on behalf of the Job Creators Network to force Major League Baseball to keep the All-Star Game in Atlanta, Georgia is not going well. After a disastrous oral argument, a judge rejected JCN's request for an injunction and poured cold water over the entire theory of the case.

JCN enlisted Kraken-lawyer Kleinhendler to file this suit after Major League Baseball decided to move the All-Star Game as a protest against the passage of a controversial election reform law in Georgia. There are ample bases upon which to criticize MLB's decision, not least that the complaints about Georgia's election reforms are overwrought, but the theory of the lawsuit is borderline ludicrous.

District Court Judge Valerie Caproni rejected JCN's request for a preliminary injunction after what can only be called a cringeworthy oral argument. Judge Caproni concluded JCN lacked standing, but that was only the beginning of the problems. From the Atlanta Journal-Constitution's coverage of the proceedings:

"To say that the legal underpinnings of this lawsuit are weak and muddled is an understatement," the judge said. "Plaintiff alleges that (MLB and the players' union) were members of a conspiracy to violate JCN members' constitutional rights … but I am still at a loss to understand how."

Caproni added: "MLB voted with its feet when politicians in Georgia made a policy decision with which (MLB) strongly disagreed. For all this court knows, many of the small business owners in the Atlanta area agree with MLB that the policy decisions reflected in the new Georgia election law are poor policy choices. But whether small business owners as a group agree or disagree, are deeply divided or are agnostic on that issue, it is hard to see how MLB's decision had an impact on the equal protection rights of small business owners as a group."

If anything, the judge was gentle. To get a better picture of how bad the argument went, read these real-time threads by Mike Dunford and Akiva Cohen to believe it. (I will post a link to a transcript if one becomes available.) Indeed, Kleinhendler's arguments were so bad and nonsensical that the opposing attorneys largely rested their case.

Judge Caproni allowed that JCN could continue to press for damages, but her ruling from the bench left little doubt how she would be likely to rule.

This outcome should not be particularly surprising. Kleinhendler filed numerous claims concerning the 2020 election, including some of the Kraken complaints filed by Sidney Powell (e.g., here and here) and a lawsuit by Rep. Gohmert against Vice President Pence. He has also been the subject of legal malpractice claims.  Based upon yesterday's performance, it would not surprise me to see more such claims in the future.

NEXT: Emotional Influences on Judges

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  1. The lawsuit and legal arguments were riduculas

    Moving the game from a state with less restrictive voting access laws to a state with more restrictive voting access laws because of optics was also ludicrous.

    1. And, there’s no question that the move disparately impacts those of Southern American ancestry in favor of those of Western American ancestry. One can’t discriminate based on ethnic heritage simply by making up a “ludicrous” rationalization. We know that would not be allowed if one were discriminating against South Americans in favor of Westerners. Similarly for Southern Americans vs. Western Americans.

      Southern Americans face a long history of systemic prejudices and unflattering stereotypes: they talk funny, they’re dim, they’re racist, etc. MLB acted on those prejudices in assuming that the voting law was more restrictive than it actually was and in assuming that the law had unjust motivations. Southern American voting reforms get labeled as “voting restrictions” by the (mostly non-Southern American) media. Non-Southern American voting reforms get labeled “voting rights” laws. Notice, MLB did not just move the game to another area with a high Southern American population. Instead, they used the voting law as an excuse to move the game to a location with a completely different ethnic heritage. We made an ostensible commitment last summer to address systemic prejudices in our justice system. Maybe, we should start now.

      1. MLB may not be a state actor per se, but it may have been pressured into the move by state actors due to MLB’s dependence on the good graces of such actors to retain MLB’s anti-trust exemption. Numerous government officials from the President on down have made disparaging remarks about those of Southern-American descent, especially as it relates to the voting reforms in question, all part of the Woke’s campaign of perpetuating anti-Southern bias. With the implied threat of putting the anti-trust exemption at risk, it’s difficult to separate MLB’s decisions from those of state actors involved in the Woke campaign.

        The irreparable harm here without the injunction is that moving the game stigmatizes, and thus emotionally harms, those of Southern-American descent. Even if plaintiffs eventually win their case, it will be difficult to undo the psychological harm from the perpetuation of anti-Southern bias.

        1. The problem is, in court, you actually have to prove your theory.

          In other words, I believe in a liberal state action doctrine (I wrote a law review article about this in the 1990’s!) and I have no problem in saying that if a private actor was actually pressured by the government to engage in a discriminatory act, that could be a 14th Amendment violation.

          But here, you are going to run into huge proof problems, because the antitrust exemption was the least of MLB’s concerns. They had marketing issues, AS WELL AS ISSUES WITH THEIR OWN PLAYERS PERHAPS REFUSING TO PLAY IN THE GAME, if they stayed in Georgia.

        2. If southern America would ditch its ignorance, bigotry, and downscale superstition, the stigma currently and properly associated with being a southerner would dissipate.

          Until then . . . accountability can be tough, clingers.

      2. Found Kleinhendler’s Reason account, apparently. Or maybe not because this is maybe the only argument worse than what he was actually saying.

      3. “Southern Americans face a long history of systemic prejudices and unflattering stereotypes: they talk funny, they’re dim, they’re racist”

        Truth is a defense. Somebody should point out to these fellows that the All-Star Game is just one game, and MLB could move all the other baseball games out of Atlanta if they wanted to. 162 (or however many are left in the season) road games for the Braves.

    2. And continuing to support MLB baseball is equally ludicrous — I say “to hell” with woke sports.

      1. You weren’t going to make the team, anyway.

    3. Moving the game from a state with less restrictive voting access laws to a state with more restrictive voting access laws…

      Plenty of people ripped this bullshit apart at the time. Sen. Tim Scott, for instance, tried to point to the Georgia “reforms” requiring 17 days of early voting compared to 15 in Colorado, but that completely ignores how Colorado mails all registered voters a ballot and allows for same-day registration on Election Day, while Georgia requires voters to register a month in advance of Election Day. (Someone that moved to Georgia two weeks before Election Day that hadn’t already voted at their previous address is out of luck.)

      Voters in Colorado simply don’t need as much early voting since 94% of voters in 2020 sent in their ballots by mail, compared to 26% in Georgia. Georgia also is more restrictive on ballot drop boxes for mail votes. The last day for drop boxes is the Friday before Election Day in Georgia, for some reason, where Colorado keeps drop boxes available until the evening on Election Day.

      Colorado also has an ID requirement, but Georgia allows fewer ID options, and Colorado’s options include some that do not have a photo, like a recent utility bill.

      There is simply no validity to GOP arguments on these voting access issues. They have no credibility. When Texas lawmakers can’t even get their lies straight about why they wanted to limit Sunday early voting to 1pm, why should anyone believe that they care about “election security” rather than trying to manipulate voting rules to discourage people that tend to vote Democrat from voting?

      1. Right. The GOP efforts are transparent.

  2. If it’s true ( and I don’t know it is) that they were moving to a state with more restrictive voting regulations, it seems to (me a non-lawyer) you might have a contractual case that the motive was pretextural and based on animus toward Republicans in favor of Democrats and possibly economic motives (a bribe).

    1. Even if the move were based on an animus towards Republicans, it wouldn’t make the lawsuit any less ridiculous.

      1. Or Republicans any less ridiculous, alas.

    2. I’m sorry, but who do you think would have a “contractual case”? Wouldn’t that require someone with a contract?

      And what difference would it make if their motive were pretextual?

      1. Anyone with a direct connection to the Game or the Stadium who would lose money as a result of the contract being modified.

        That could include a lot of businesses.

        1. Anyone with a direct connection to the game or stadium who would lose money? Is that how contracts work?

        2. Oh, that’s cool. So if you’re a regular at my coffee shop but get a new job in a different city, I can sue you for cancelling your lease with your landlord and moving away since you’re not going to buy my coffee?

          Actually, it’s even more attenuated than that since MLB wasn’t even the party buying from these businesses: one of your friends who comes over to your place regularly likes my coffee, so because you’re moving away they’re no longer going to visit and I’ll lose business. You owe me!

        3. Anyone with a direct connection to the Game or the Stadium who would lose money as a result of the contract being modified.

          You know the esurance commercial saying, “That’s not how this works. That’s not how any of this works”?

          Yeah. That.

          1. It’s not implausible that a few sports bars and other similar venues that were planning events around the all star game that had an actual contract with MLB related to those events (to cover IP licensing among other things).

            If so, they might have a case for monetary damagers for breach of contract.

            But that’s not particularly likely as anyone who had an actual contract in writing would have come forward by now.

            1. If a sports bar has a contract with MLB to show the game in the bar, that contract is likely still valid and MLB hasn’t violated it. As anyone who’s ever been in a sports bar can tell you, they can, and do, show away games as well as home games.

    3. 1. It doesn’t. Colorado is vote by mail. There are dozens of states with more restrictive voting laws than the new Georgia bill (because a lot of the crazy stuff hit the cutting room floor), but Colorado isn’t one of those.

      2. But even if Colorado did have “worse” voting rules, that’s not how a contract claim works. First, you need a contract and second you need a breach. The subjective motivation of the party to the contract doesn’t matter unless the contract says it matters (like contingencies or similar).

    4. ” it seems to (me a non-lawyer) you might have a contractual case that the motive was pretextural”

      To make a contract-claim lawsuit work, you have to prove that you had a contract with the defendant before anything else matters. If you cannot show that a contract existed between the plaintiff and the defendant, then the defendant did not breach the contract, on a pretext or otherwise.

  3. This is almost as outrageous as a big city attempting eminent domain condemnation against a football team to stop it from leaving because the politicians are terrible.

    1. Or a race track.

      1. How does a race track leave a city?

  4. Having represented the Hon. Rep. Gohmert in one case, perhaps Kleinhendler will argue Gohmert’s lawsuit against the Forestry Service for not changing the Earth’s orbit and Moon’s orbits so as to alleviate global warming.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsA72dLablY

    1. Gohmert was probably thinking that he was being clever and sarcastic, but he just failed miserably because he is dumb as a rock. He’s about as clever as creationists that ask, “If we came from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?!?”

      1. I don’t think he’s smart enough to be sarcastic. Or if he was sarcastic, I don’t see the point he was trying to make.

  5. The judges comments on Atlanta small businesses are interesting. Many of the voting changes are targeted at large urban areas where Democrats are strongest and many of the Atlanta small business probably share in the opposition to the new voting laws. These businesses are the situation of being losers no matter what happens.

  6. I am increasingly convinced I am the only person who remembers the NFL yanking the Super Bowl out of Phoenix when AZ refused to acknowledge Martin Luther King Day.

    1. Yet, after 50 years or so, I still think Heidi was cuter than Joe Namath (or even Daryle Lamonica).

      1. Joe is on TV again, hawking Medicare Advantage insurance. His ads run at least once per hour on one of the local TV stations.

  7. You can’t spell BLM without MLB. I choose to vote with my wallet and not support “woke” sports any longer. I have found that I enjoy the peace and quiet during my weekends and evenings more without watching millionaire children play a game, and I don’t miss the scolding from said children, as well as the announcers, and advertisers.

    1. Don’t let the door slam your butt on your way out.

      1. It won’t have a chance to hit his butt because of all the people following him.

        Myself included. F*ck MLB — and f*ck those who advertise on it.

        1. I think it’s easier and simpler to just say “fuck off” to people who want to tell me about which sports they want to be interested in. You don’t want to watch professional baseball games? Who cares?

          1. James,
            Well, Ed also refuses to watch football, because of woke players taking a knee. And Ed refuses to watch basketball, because of LeBron James and other black players speaking out against police misconduct.

            But Ed can still watch hockey. And curling.

            For now.

            1. The point is, I don’t care what sports are or are not suitable to his tastes. I’d have bet he prefers to watch big, sweaty men roll around on a mat with each other.

    2. Psst: nobody believes you.

    3. Disaffected right-wing malcontents are among my favorite culture war casualties.

      I would have figured sports might provide some respite as you continue to seethe about getting stomped into irrelevance in the culture war. But you don’t get to be a clinger with strong judgment.

    4. So if your life is better now, I guess you should be glad that this confluence of events occured. Who says the right needs to be angry? Wokeness brings peace of mind and body in the most unexpected ways!

  8. the complaints about Georgia’s election reforms are overwrought,

    Trying to maintain credibility with your NR pals, are you? You discredit yourself.

    Tell us, how does the validity of those complaints compare with the validity of the complaints about existing procedures that motivated the GA law?

    IOW, who are the bullshitters here?

    1. Now that’s whataboutism.

  9. Those darn Democrats brought us “cancel culture” and wacky ideas like “all the votes from all the voters count”. No sir. Their votes should be cancelled until they learn to vote correctly!

  10. “There are ample bases upon which to criticize MLB’s decision…”

    This is the high-quality content I expect from VC.

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