The Supreme Court has decided that the lawsuit being brought by former Minor League Baseball players against Major League Baseball over not being paid minimum wage, nor being paid for spring training and extended spring training can move forward after MLB appealed the decision made at a lower level court.

This is both a big deal, but also not as big of a deal as it may initially sound. The ruling from Monday was only about the class action status of the lawsuit. What the decision wasn’t related to was anything about the lawsuit itself. The suit, being led by Garrett Broshuis – a former pitcher in the minors and now an attorney who is also doing great work for Advocates for Minor Leaguers – is seeking back pay for time spent in both Arizona and Florida playing professionally back to 2009 spring training.

What that means is that nearly every single minor league baseball player since 2009 would be eligible to join the class action lawsuit. As reported by Baseball America, players who spent time playing in the California League would also be eligible to join (though it’s unlikely one would have played in that league, but also never have been at a spring training or instructional league) – but, it could mean that players who passed through the California League could be due more back pay.

 

15 Responses

    • Doug Gray

      I’ve actually talked with two lawyers that I know about this since yesterday. Both believe that this is likely going to be settled rather than go to trial at this point. Both said something to the extent that a large majority of class action suits don’t make it to judgment and are settled before they get that far.

      • RojoBenjy

        Yep, they got to come through with the green or get taken to the cleaners. Juries usually don’t side with multi-billionaire conglomerates.

  1. RojoBenjy

    Hey RML gang!

    Guess who’s on the Marlins’ playoff roster?

    Chad Wallach

    Good for him!

  2. Simon

    milb could bankrupt mlb. A perfect storm is brewing. I’m not on either side of this but players should be 1) allowed to form a union 2) be paid minimum wage 3) have access to the same training resources as MLB players. Let the chips fall where they may.

    • James K

      This move doesn’t have to bankrupt mlb. They can pay more to the minor leaguers, and less to the superstars making tens of millions per year.

    • Doug Gray

      If paying your employees minimum wage is going to bankrupt your $11,000,000,000 per year business, you’re probably doing something wrong in your business.

      • Simon

        I didn’t say it would I”m saying that it could.Could meaning maybe or perhaps. Lawyers tend to not stop at meeting the obligation but they tend to go after reparations in one way shape or another.

        Another note card board cutouts don’t pay attendence, I’m not a futures analyst but I think common sense would imply that probably isn’t sustainable either especially when television revenues are going down across the board, and by across the board I mean not just sports with NBA tanking around 50% but it with all forms of televised broadcasting, people are staying home you would think viewing is up but instead it is way down. When the world goes back to work the viewership will dip even further. MLB has MLB.TV which is great but that revenue from 1 paying annual subriber doesn’t even come close to what the average family attending a single game pays at the ballpark. $93.99 might pay for the seats of 3 or 4 people but it won’t cover the food, parking, and misc. sold at the ballpark.

      • Doug Gray

        Television revenues for sports are going UP, Simon. Like way up. The latest national MLB contract, that was signed last month, was 60% higher than the previous one signed.

  3. MK

    Doubt players will win at trial. Each player signed a contract agreeing to their compensation. It is not like they are hourly ticket takers who were hired for an hourly wage. I signed a contract with a carpenter to build my patio deck. If it cost more than we agreed I didn’t have to pay more, we had a contract. A legal contract is going to trump fairness or emotion and that is the instruction a judge would give a jury.

    • Doug Gray

      I’m not a lawyer, but the ones that have weighed in seem to think this is a very different kind of situation than the one you signed with a builder.

      • MK

        One of the Dragons who lived with us left his contract here when he went home and it is pretty cut and dried. I don’t believe they were considered employees either even though they had a Reds ID. We went to a Reds game on one of their days off and even though they had the IDs they could not get employee discounts in the gift shop. Rick Walls did let them in the Hall of Fame for free.

      • Doug Gray

        Here’s the thing about contracts: If they break the law it doesn’t matter if you signed it and agreed to it, it’s not a valid contract. That’s the argument they are making: The contracts violate labor law.

  4. Michael Smith

    MK they may be under contract but they are not 1099 guys. They are 100% company employees. The biggest question that will come up imo if it makes it to trial is not being paid for spring training and instructional leagues that are mandatory.

    p.s. if i am wrong about them not being paid more than a per diem then my bad.