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FLOOD v. KUHN

April 23, 1970

Curtis C. Flood, Plaintiff
v.
Bowie K. Kuhn, Commissioner of Baseball, Charles S. Feeney, President of the National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, Joseph E. Cronin, President of the American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, Atlanta Braves, Inc., Chicago National League Ball Club, The Cincinnati Reds, Inc., The Houston Sports Assn., Los Angeles Dodgers, Inc., Montreal Baseball Club, Ltd., Metropolitan Baseball Club, Inc., Philadelphia National League Club, Pittsburgh Athletic Co., Inc., St. Louis National Baseball Club, Inc., San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants' Baseball Club, Baltimore Baseball Club, Inc., Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Inc., Detroit Baseball Club, New York Yankees, Inc., The Washington Senators, Inc., Golden West Baseball Co., Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals Baseball Club, Minnesota Twins, Inc., Oakland Athletics, and Pacific Northwest Sports, Inc.


Cooper, D. J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: COOPER

COOPER, D. J.

Each defendant herein to the extent named in plaintiff's first four causes of action moves to dismiss such claims for lack of jurisdiction over the subject matter, for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted, and, as to the second and third causes of action only, for failure to join indispensable parties, pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), (6) and (7), F.R. Civ. P. Both defendants named in the fifth cause of action move alternatively for dismissal of that claim on the first two of the above-stated grounds, or for summary judgment pursuant to Rule 56, F.R. Civ. P. Each of the first four causes of action attacks baseball's reserve system. The fifth cause of action alleges certain unrelated antitrust violations on the part of two defendant baseball clubs.

 First Four Causes of Action

 Turning first to the motions to dismiss the first four causes of action, dismissal on the pleadings for want of jurisdiction would be appropriate only if plaintiff's claims of federal jurisdiction were unsubstantial or frivolous. Cf. Bell v. Hood, 327 U.S. 678, 90 L. Ed. 939, 66 S. Ct. 773 (1946). We cannot so hold. See generally, our Opinion herein filed March 4, 1970 denying plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction (hereinafter "Opinion").

 After considerable reflection we also conclude that any decision on the motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim must be deferred until trial. See Rule 12(d), F.R. Civ. P. With regard to the first cause of action alleging violation of the federal anti-trust laws, plaintiff asserts grounds for overruling Toolson v. New York Yankees, Inc., 346 U.S. 356, 98 L. Ed. 64, 74 S. Ct. 78 (1953) which in our view raise serious questions of a factual nature. See Opinion. By the same token we are of the belief that defendants raise substantial issues of fact as to whether this matter is properly a labor dispute exempt from the antitrust laws. *fn1" Id. To obtain a clear view, the proper judicial course requires that these issues - important to all of organized baseball and of great public interest - not to be resolved without full consideration of all the facts best adduced at trial. See 2A Moore, Federal Practice P12.16 at 2356 and 2357 (2d ed. 1968). See also, United States v. Central States Theatre Corp., 159 F. Supp. 552 (D. Neb. 1957); Kaus v. Huston, 35 F. Supp. 327, 330 (N.D. Iowa 1940).

 Further, we believe the trial must encompass the factual issues raised respecting the reserve system - hailed as a blessing by proponents; condemned as destructive by antagonists. We have ordered an early trial herein (May 19, 1970); the considerations which impelled that decision likewise weigh heavily in favor of developing all of the facts at one trial so as to avoid the possibility of piecemeal determinations and consequent delay. Additionally, exploration of the operation and effect of the reserve system is vital to any determination respecting plaintiff's fourth cause of action based on involuntary servitude. Potentially, it may also illuminate the question of the continued vitality of baseball's judicially derived anti-trust exemption. *fn2" Cf. United States v. Central States Theatre Corp., supra at 555.

 Accordingly, in light of the circumstances of this case we order that the hearing and determination of the defenses raised pursuant to Rule 12(b)(1), (6) and (7), F.R. Civ. P., be deferred until trial "to permit the court to take a larger scope of vision than that merely stated in the pleadings." Kaus v. Huston, 35 F. Supp. at 330. See United States v. Central States Theatre Corp., 159 F. Supp. at 554-555.

 Fifth Cause of Action in General

 We are faced now with defendants' motions in the alternative for either dismissal or summary judgment in their favor as to plaintiff's fifth cause of action. It asserts two federal antitrust claims *fn3" unrelated to the reserve system: the first against the St. Louis National Baseball Club Inc. (St. Louis Club) and the second against the New York Yankees, Inc. (New York Yankees).

 In light of the affidavits defendants submit and rely upon which are in no wise rebutted by plaintiff we believe it appropriate to direct our attention solely to the motion for summary judgment. Plaintiff in fact submits no papers whatever in opposition thereto. As to each of the two claims, he is in effect content to rest upon the facts set forth in defendants' affidavits filed herein and, to the extent not rebutted by such affidavits, the allegations of his complaint.

 Applicable is Rule 56(e), F.R. Civ. P. which provides in part:

 
"When a motion for summary judgment is made and supported as provided in this rule, an adverse party may not rest upon the mere allegations or denials in his pleading, but his response, by affidavits or as otherwise provided in this rule, must set forth specific facts showing that there is a genuine issue for trial."

 At a conference held before us in chambers with all parties present on March 24, 1970, plaintiff's attorney stated with regard to the within motions:

 
"We will not file an answering brief. . . . We will stand on what we filed." ...

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