Legal Law

Minor league crew says the Yankees and MLB are responsible of being bullies

The New York Yankees and Major League Baseball are being sued for "bullying" behavior and failing to keep promises.

On December 3, the club and league were sued by Nostalgic Partners LLC, the owner of a baseball team that until recently was a minor league baseball member of the MLB organization. That team, the Staten Island Yankees, remained without affiliation as part of the MLB plan to contract the minor league baseball system and reduce the number of teams from 160 to 120.

Nostalgic Partners LLC claims it acquired the Staten Island Yankees in 2011 after assurances the team would continue their membership on the MLB team and continue to compete in the New York Penn League which is part of the parent club's Yankees farm is system. It is said that it relied on that promise, now to its detriment, and deserved to receive millions in damages.

"The defendants 'false promises and unlawful behavior have caused significant harm to the SI Yankees by destroying the SI Yankees' business model and forcing the SI Yankees to be forgotten," the complaint read. The plaintiff sought no less than $ 20 million in his complaint for relief from eight alleged charges, which included indictments for breach of contract and promissory notes.

"Your lawsuit against the Yankees is unfounded as they claim they received an assurance from the Yankees that they would 'always be a partner in a small league' but that was under the old system of clubs PDCs (player development contracts) with the Yankees had small leagues, ”said Bill Madden of the New York Daily News. “These have been eliminated. The owners of Staten Island also claimed that Yankee officials didn't express their satisfaction with Staten Island as their partner until March last year – but that was because the Yankees were one of the few major league teams that defied the contraction plan , and hoped the short season's rookie leagues would be maintained. "

Ultimately, the case could be due to the specific assurances the New York Yankees and / or MLB made to Nostalgic Partners, LLC that allegedly led the owner group to purchase the Staten Island team. The burden of proof is placed on the plaintiff, and if there is no written correspondence to rely on in substantiating his claims, it could be an uphill battle for the very dissatisfied Nostalgic Partners, LLC.

"Defendants can play the bully, but the applicable law makes them responsible for this bullying behavior," said the complaint.

Darren Heitner is the founder of Heitner Legal. He is the author of How to Play the Game: What Every Sports Lawyer Needs to Know, published by the American Bar Association, and is Associate Professor at Levin College of Law, University of Florida. You can reach him by email at and follow him on Twitter @DarrenHeitner.

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