Court In SF Fast Tracks Suit Over Oakland A’s Move To San Jose

The city of San Jose won its request to a federal appeals court in San Francisco today for a fast-track handling of its lawsuit against Major League Baseball.

The South Bay city claims in the lawsuit, which was filed last year, that the MLB is illegally blocking a possible move by the Oakland A’s to a new stadium in San Jose.

It is appealing a decision in which U.S. District Judge Ronald Whyte dismissed antitrust claims in the lawsuit on the ground that a 1922 U.S. Supreme Court decision specifically exempted baseball from federal antitrust laws.

Last month, the city asked the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for an expedited schedule, saying it was urgent to resolve the case quickly because an option held by the Oakland club to buy land for a stadium in San Jose will expire on Nov. 8.

The court granted that request today in an order setting an expedited filing schedule with the final brief due by April 18.

The court said that after the filings have been submitted, it will set a date to hear arguments on the first available calendar session.

The San Francisco-based court has no deadline for issuing a ruling after hearing arguments in a case.

Its previous schedule in the San Jose case had provided for the final brief to be filed by June 18.

The MLB had asked the court not to grant an expedited schedule, saying there was no proof San Jose would be harmed by a normal schedule. It said the land-purchase option would be only one element in a possible move, since the A’s would also need to decide to make the move and obtain a new financing package.

The expedited schedule requires San Jose to file its opening appeal brief by March 4 and MLB to submit a response by April 4. An optional reply by San Jose is due by April 18.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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