The A-Rod Saga: Batting 1.000 So Far (See For Yourself)
My previous blog post here on the A-Rod saga (A-Rod’s Chances on Appeal: Rock, Meet Hill) contained some predictions. Several have already have come to pass; so far I am batting 1.000.
A-Rod would Bring Legal Action to Vacate Award
First, I predicted that A-Rod would sue in federal court to throw out the arbitration award. That he has done. On Monday, A-Rod moved in the United States District Court, Southern District of New York, to vacate the award. He cites four grounds: 1) the arbitration award does not “draw its essence” from the collective bargaining agreement; 2) it shows “manifest disregard of the law;” 3) Arbitrator Horowitz was biased; and 4) the Arbitrator failed to accept “pertinent and material” evidence. Somewhat surprisingly, he is also suing the Major League Baseball Players Association for breach of its duty to fairly represent him.
There is a Written Opinion
Second, I said that, this case being a labor arbitration, it was very likely there was a written opinion by Arbitrator Horowitz. Indeed there is. The 34-page opinion is appended as Exhibit A starting on page 44 of A-Rod’s filing with the federal court on Monday. In it, the Arbitrator methodically explains why there is overwhelming proof supporting a finding that A-Rod violated baseball’s substance abuse policies. It makes fascinating reading.
The Parties in a Labor Arbitration are the Union and Management
Third, I pointed out that A-Rod was technically not a party to the arbitration case, because in a labor arbitration the parties are the union and management. If one studies the cover page of the arbitration award, you will see that the case caption is “Major League Baseball Players Association and Office of the Commissioner of Baseball.” A-Rod is mentioned in the case description which is “Grievance No. 2013-02 (Alexander Rodriguez).”
What of my other predictions? Time will tell, as I still have a few more at bats. I opined that A-Rod is pushing the proverbial rock up a hill with his appeal of Arbitrator Horowitz’s decision that he be suspended for 162 games (an entire season). Having read the Arbitrator’s opinion, I am more convinced than ever that there is essentially no chance the court will overturn the award.
I also said that there is a small window of opportunity that might allow him to play this year, because A-Rod could seek to enjoin enforcement of the arbitration award pending his appeal in court. The complaint filed Monday does not seek an injunction, but I’m sticking with my twin predictions that eventually A-Rod will seek an injunction, and that it won’t be granted. If so, I will be 5 for 5, a 1.000 average. Not bad!
Note: besides being a Board Member of Arbitration Resolution Services, Inc., author George H. Friedman is an adjunct professor of law at Fordham Law School, where he has taught a course on arbitration since 1996.