February 10, 2020

SportsFilter: The Monday Huddle:

A place to discuss the sports stories that aren't making news, share links that aren't quite front-page material, and diagram plays on your hand. Remember to count to five Mississippi before commenting in anger.

posted by huddle to general at 06:00 AM - 10 comments

Masai Ujiri sued by Oakland officer over alleged assault after Raptors' NBA championship

posted by tommybiden at 06:50 PM on February 10, 2020

Crazy! Is there video of the alleged assault?

posted by NoMich at 08:59 PM on February 10, 2020

I'm scared that James Dolan will send Ujiri a team of pro bono defense lawyers as an opening pourboire in the Knicks' courtship of the coveted executive.

Ujiri working for Dolan would be just as bad as - maybe even worse than - Ron Rivera working for Dan Snyder.

posted by beaverboard at 09:45 PM on February 10, 2020

Ex-pitcher Bolsinger sues Astros over sign-stealing scandal

posted by tommybiden at 09:46 PM on February 10, 2020

Crazy! Is there video of the alleged assault?

According to the Oakland police, yes they have video of the assault.

But they don't want to show anyone.

And, they also dropped all criminal charges against Ujiri.

The cop claims he stopped Ujiri because he didn't have his credentials.

It smells like someone is trying to cash out on civil suit, and hoping the NBA/Raptors/Ujiri settle to make it go away.

posted by grum@work at 07:24 AM on February 11, 2020

The Bolsinger lawsuit interests me. Not being a lawyer I have no clue if there are any merits to it but should be amusing to follow.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:09 AM on February 11, 2020

Unfair business practices--[California] law defines unfair business practices as business practices and advertising that are unlawful, unfair, fraudulent, deceptive, untrue, or misleading. The first hurdle they would have to overcome is demonstrating that the cheating system falls within a "business practice." I think that can be done--shit, just point to every single player who gets traded and/or released saying "this is a business." There is nothing "unlawful, fraudulent, deceptive, or untrue" about sign stealing, but I think it certainly qualifies as "unfair." So they might have a prima facie case for it. If I'm defending the suit, I say that there is no proximate cause between the sign stealing and the end of a mediocre-at-best pitcher's career (he would have been signed but for the cheating).

Negligence--someone owes a duty of care, breaches that duty, causing both in-fact and proximate harm to the victim, resulting in damages. One could argue that the Astros owed a duty to the rest of the league and its individual players to play within the rules, and that the duty was breached by the sign stealing practice. I think harm-in-fact can be shown (there is a linear progression from sign stealing--> release), but we go back to the proximate cause element again. If this had been a top-tier pitcher who would undoubtedly have been re-signed but for the sign stealing, it might hold up. Bolsinger...maybe not.

Intentional interference with contractual and economic relations--[Massachusetts law] says a defendant is liable to pay damages in tort for actions intended to interfere with the plaintiff's contractual relations with a third party. The burden is on the plaintiff to prove the following four elements: (1) that a valid contract existed (easy), (2) that defendant had knowledge of the contract (easy), (3) that defendant acted intentionally and improperly (easy), and (4) that plaintiff was injured by the defendant's actions (well...here we are again at "but for"). This sounds like the strongest cause of action, but it will be an uphill battle.

On all of the above claims, I think a court would be very careful about setting precedent. Where does "gamesmanship" end and "unfair" begin? Do we really want every professional athlete who loses a game because of a breach of the rules to have legal recourse against the perpetrator? An uncalled pass interference? Sue the team? The DB? The keeper moves a split second early on a penalty kick? A hockey player gets hooked or interfered with on a breakout? I don't see it happening.

posted by tahoemoj at 12:25 PM on February 11, 2020

Tahoe, does the math change if additional players (or teams) sue the Astros? Also, does it make a difference that he is not looking to be the recipient of the damages, but to punish the team with the money going to charity?

And from a precedent standpoint, while I think you raise a very important point that courts would be reticent to open up the world of suing over the types of things that you have listed, an argument could certainly be made that it is the repeated, long-term nature of the Astros' cheating practices that set them apart.

posted by bender at 02:47 PM on February 11, 2020

Thanks Tahoe.

posted by billsaysthis at 11:19 AM on February 12, 2020

does the math change if additional players (or teams) sue the Astros? Also, does it make a difference that he is not looking to be the recipient of the damages, but to punish the team with the money going to charity?

The math definitely changes depending on the quality of the player, the outcome of the action (did the player keep pitching? Can they prove it diminished the contract they got?). Bolsinger is unique in that he never pitched again and was no great shakes to begin with.

As far as the recipient of the damages--no change that I can see. The elements and burden of proof don't change. ALTHOUGH it might actually weaken his case in that it tends to disprove that he suffered compensable damages and is just seeking some sort of punishment in principle.

posted by tahoemoj at 01:36 PM on February 19, 2020

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