Major League Baseball is trying to get Alex Rodriguez's lawsuit against them thrown out of court by filing a notion to have the case tried in Federal Court.
The motion, filed on Monday in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, requests the federal court to take the lawsuit. MLB believes a federal judge would rule that Rodriguez is bound by the collective bargaining agreement to pursue his appeal through the arbitration process.
In the notice for removal, filed with the court, it states, "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."
A-Rod's representation disagrees with their interpretation of the rule, but is also unhappy that they have to keep learning about MLB's actions through the media, rather than being personally informed first. One of the lawyers, Joe Tacopina, had this to say:
"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."
While MLB believes that all matters that have to do with A-Rod's suspension be handled under the already agreed upon guidelines and remain in the appeal hearing, Rodriguez's side is stating that this is a wholly separate issue, which their client should be free to confront in open court. This is just another battle for control over the process.
A-Rod's lawsuit against MLB has some very serious claims that could challenge the validity of the Biogenesis investigation. The trouble is that we don't know which party is telling the truth about what. Unless they have hard, concrete evidence that he was treated unfairly, the lawsuit against MLB is merely a tactic to smear Bud Selig's name, put doubt into the mind of the arbitrator and hope a settlement can be agreed to as a last ditch effort.
The hearing will continue next week and once completed it could be almost another month before a verdict is decided on.