A federal judge Friday ruled against a nonprofit that sued Major League Baseball for moving its All Star game from Atlanta to Denver.
“U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Carponi ruled against a not-for-profit organization representing small businesses, saying a lawsuit had failed to provide proof that its members have suffered any injuries by the decision to move the game,” Associated Press reported.
That lawsuit was filed on May 31 by Job Creators Network on behalf of the small businesses it claimed would lose $100 million due to the game being moved. It asked the court for $100 million in compensatory damages, and $1 billion in punitive damages.
Major League Baseball decided to move the game in protest over Georgia’s new election integrity law, which left-wing groups say is “racist.”
“The lawsuit contends that, in moving the game, MLB ‘acted beyond any plausible legitimate civic or moral concern affecting the integrity of the sport of baseball’ and ‘intended to punish Georgians because their state enacted a reasonable ballot-integrity statute,’” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported when the suit was filed.
The judge disagreed.
But Howard Kleinhendler, attorney for the plaintiff, argued that many small businesses are afraid to speak up about how badly moving the game will hurt them, for fear that they will be boycotted or their businesses swarmed with bad online reviews.
“We’re saddened for those small businesses because this game, in many cases, was the difference between possibly keeping their doors open and closed forever,” he reportedly said.
President and CEO of Jobs Creator Network Alfredo Ortiz has been following the All Star game saga closely. He joined Fox News for an interview in April, and blasted activists who he said were spreading an “outright lie” about the new law, and hurting Georgia’s economy in the process.
“These small business owners, especially in Cobb – I mean, a lot of these are minority owned businesses – who were looking forward and desperately needed this kind of revenue,” he said. “And all because, quite frankly, there was a misinterpretation or a misunderstanding or quite frankly just an outright lie of the law that was passed here in Georgia on voting rights.”
Ortiz and the Job Creators Network released a statement after the ruling Friday:
The judge’s disappointing ruling is just one strike against us, and we are still up to bat, looking to appeal our case to the Second Circuit or directly to the Supreme Court. To be clear, JCN lost on standing; MLB did not win on the merits. By demonstrating clear harm to our members and us as an organization, we believe that the judge erred in her decision, and we do have standing. Yet the muddled debate over standing shouldn’t obscure this case’s merits, which are in our favor. The Job Creators Network filed this lawsuit to right a wrong committed by Major League Baseball that cost Atlanta small businesses $100 million at a time they need it most. The MLB didn’t win on this point.
Along with announcing that the organization will appeal the ruling, Ortiz claimed that Georgia’s businesses have been “unfairly punished” by Major League Baseball, which he said is “virtue signaling.”
He pledged his organization’s continued support to Georgia’s businesses.
“JCN is still at the plate in this case,” he said. “And when it comes to fighting for small businesses, we will always swing for the fences.”
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