Major League Baseball’s Antitrust Exemption Upheld, Setting Stage for San Jose Appeal to United States Supreme Court

On January 15, 2015, a three judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco said the U.S. Supreme Court is to determine whether baseball’s antitrust exemption has “continued vitality.” The decision was issued in the City of San Jose’s antitrust case against Major League Baseball and Commissioner Bud Selig. In its lawsuit, San Jose asserts that, pursuant to an illegal exclusive territorial rights agreement, MLB has refused to permit the A’s to relocate from Oakland to San Jose, purportedly because the San Francisco Giants “own” the territorial rights to San Jose. As a result, MLB has prevented the A’s from exercising an Option Agreement with the City of San Jose and refused to grant permission for the A’s to move. The CPM team representing the City of San Jose is Joe Cotchett, Philip Gregory, Anne Marie Murphy and Frank Damrell, Jr.