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Dodgers ask for more access to MLB documents

October 3, 2011 |  8:15 am

On the first business day after a judge ordered the Dodgers to limit their bankruptcy arguments to their own team, the Dodgers told the judge he would be unreasonably restricting their ability to put on their case.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross said he would hear arguments on Wednesday.

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has said Commissioner Bud Selig forced the team into bankruptcy by rejecting a proposed television contract. On Friday, Gross ruled that he would hear arguments on whether the contract would be good for the Dodgers and good for Major League Baseball and whether Selig had treated McCourt in good faith. However, Gross also ruled he would not authorize McCourt's attorneys to obtain documents and conduct depositions related to other teams.

In a court filing on Monday, the Dodgers' attorneys tried a baseball analogy in asking Gross to reconsider his ruling.

"Just as it would be a challenge to show that an umpire was acting in bad faith merely because he called a pitch high that other umpires would call a strike--but easier to make that showing if the same umpire called the same pitch a ball for one team and a strike for the other--[the Dodgers] should be entitled to present evidence of the Commissioner's dealings with other teams involving similar transactions to allow this Court to determine whether the Commissioner is using a different strike zone for [the Dodgers] than for other teams," the filing read.

By precluding the Dodgers from pursuing or introducing evidence from other teams, the Dodgers argued that Gross gave MLB exactly what the league wanted--"the ability to argue it acted 'reasonably' without any context or history against which to measure that claim," according to the filing.

Moreover, the Dodgers argued, it would be "inequitable" for Gross to deny access to MLB documents, alleging that discovery "has been one-sided in favor of MLB" because Gross denied the Dodgers' previous requests and because MLB has access to documents from the Dodgers and from McCourt personally because a league-appointed trustee oversaw the team from April through June.

-- Bill Shaikin

 

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