By Steve Kallas
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As everybody knows by now, it really hit the fan Monday when Alex Rodriguez’s legal team filed a complaint in federal court in Manhattan against Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association.
While little attention has been paid to the complaint — the overwhelming majority of coverage has gone to the now-public Fredric Horowitz arbitration decision — it seems to this writer that something was missing with the papers filed Monday.
Where was the motion for a preliminary injunction — or a stay of the arbitrator’s suspension decision?
Make no mistake, without such a filing, this complaint, in and of itself, doesn’t offer A-Rod a chance to actually play baseball come opening day.
SO WHAT HAPPENED?
According to a number of published reports prior to Monday’s filing, A-Rod’s lawyer, Joe Tacopina, said that the Yankees third baseman’s legal team would be filing for an injunction. Apparently, no motion papers for an injunction were filed Monday.
Well, according to Ken Davidoff and Rich Calder in the New York Post:
“Team A-Rod didn’t file for an injunction as threatened, attorney Joseph Tacopina said Monday, because such action wouldn’t be necessary until the start of the regular season – the Yankees start their schedule on April 1 – and there is hope this case can be resolved by then.”
Wow! Let’s look at those two reasons.
THE CASE MIGHT BE “RESOLVED BY THEN”
What? There is zero chance that this case can be resolved by April 1 with the result being A-Rod allowed to play on April 1. It’s hard to believe that Tacopina would be making such laughable statements.
Could it be that there has been some discussion between MLB and A-Rod’s people that would result in a suspension of less than 162 games to make everything go away? You know, 100 games, 125 games, 150 games?
That’s the only possibility I can come up with.
“SUCH ACTION WOULDN’T BE NECESSARY UNTIL THE START OF THE REGULAR SEASON”
Well, clearly A-Rod’s lawyers aren’t going to wait until April 1 to file a motion for an injunction. Since Jan. 13, the day the complaint was filed, is literally only 78 days away from opening day, I believe his lawyers really can’t wait very long. In fact, if they wait until, say, March 1 to file papers, a judge will very likely say “you filed your complaint back on Jan. 13 and you waited until now to file a motion for a preliminary injunction?”
A motion for a preliminary injunction has to be filed sooner rather than later.
Just the motion papers alone take time, as in a few weeks. That is, A-Rod files his motion for a preliminary injunction, the responding defendants (at least MLB and the commissioner, maybe the MLBPA) then have a certain amount of time to answer. Then A-Rod’s lawyers file a reply brief and, possibly, the responding defendants may request to file a sur-reply brief, which is usually only allowed at the judge’s discretion.
After that, the judge, if he wants, can order oral argument on the motion or even a hearing with specific witnesses.
As you can imagine, this all takes time.
SO, WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
Again, as this case file, as of Jan. 13, has no motion filed for a preliminary injunction, this complaint alone cannot get A-Rod on the field by opening day. A motion has to be made for such relief and I believe that a preliminary injunction motion should be made sooner rather than later.
We’ll see what happens next.
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