• David v. Goliath: Another Suit Brought Against MLB by Minor Leaguers
  • February 6, 2015 | Author: Joseph M. Hanna
  • Law Firm: Goldberg Segalla LLP - Buffalo Office
  • Four minor league players filed an antitrust lawsuit in San Francisco federal court against Major League Baseball (MLB), claiming that the league’s right of first refusal to resign the players impair their ability to negotiate when their contracts expire.

    Calling the league a cartel, the complaint said the players are “powerless to combat the collusive power of the MLB cartel.” It further claimed that “MLB continues to actively and openly collude on many aspects of minor leaguers’ working conditions,” including wages and contract terms. Especially, by inserting a reserve-clause provision, the teams artificially suppress salaries and eliminate contractual mobility, according to the complaint.

    The players are seeking the court to ban the reserve clause, find the league in violation of the Sherman Act, and award them treble damages. In addition, they want the court to grant a class certification for past, current, and future minor leaguers for any of the 30 teams in the league during the four years leading up to the lawsuit.

    According to the plaintiffs, the average compensation for a minor league player is about $7,500 per calendar year, and the efforts to form a union have been weak as the players fear such efforts would adversely affect their chances of getting into the majors.

    More Minor Leaguers Hit MLB With Antitrust Suit Over Pay (Law360, Subscription required)