Ballplayers’ Antitrust Action Strikes Out

Minor league baseball players have struck out with their antitrust claims that Major League Baseball team owners and Commissioner Bud Selig conspired to fix their salaries.

U.S. District Judge Haywood Gilliam dismissed the class action lawsuit Monday citing the long-standing antitrust exemption afforded to baseball.

The average minor league player’s salaries are reported to be $1,100 a month for a six-month season – less than the federal poverty level, according to an Associated Press analysis.  Meanwhile, MLB players had an average salary in 2015 of $4.2 million.

The lawsuit, filed by Sergio Miranda in 2014, alleged minor leaguers are prevented from negotiating with other teams for seven years, denying them the ability to move between teams.

In the end, Gilliam adhered to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in January against the city of San Jose’s fight over relocation of the Oakland A’s.  The 9th Circuit applied baseball’s antitrust exemption broadly.

In 1998, the Curt Flood Act lifted the MLB exemption to give players free agency. But Congress declined to extend that exemption to minor league players Gilliam said.

He added that MLB “should not be afforded carte blanche to restrict the pay and mobility of minor league players.”  But he said only Congress or the U.S. Supreme Court can make that change.

Case: Miranda v. Selig, No. 14-cv-5349


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