Wow, what a day. I wasn’t sure I was going to write anything about what happened, because, what can you say? Though Precourt Sports Ventures and Major League Soccer had previously telegraphed that they were filing a motion to dismiss, the various interested parties had been waiting with bated breath to see exactly what was the legal strategy they intended to use to fight the case. We of course knew the general theories which PSV/MLS were planning to use, but we really need to see the actual brief to do a thorough analysis.
So after appearing on Jason Davis’ show to discuss the case, and writing a semi-serious (okay, 10% serious) story, and with the parties agreeing to move the deadline to today, the stage was set for us to finally get a look at PSV/MLS’ strategy…
…and then nothing.
Well, strictly speaking, that’s not quite accurate. PSV/MLS did file yet another motion to have an out-of-state attorney admitted to argue the case, but what about the motion to dismiss…
Okay, that’s not entirely accurate either. Because, in what can only be described as one of the all-time legal troll moves, a story was published in Austin American-Statesman that purported to confirm that PSV/MLS had filed a motion to dismiss the Modell lawsuit. What followed was one of the more bizarre series of events I’ve been witness to. The Statesman article at first had limited information about the motion. In fact, it read more like a press release than anything. But slowly but surely, the piece was edited to incorporate language that could have only come from the brief itself.
Which means that someone leaked the brief to the Statesman. Which is a paper in Austin, Texas. Which isn’t a party to the lawsuit, but is the location where PSV would like to move his team. So how do we know that someone from plaintiffs’ side didn’t leak this story to the Statesman? For one thing, why would anyone from the city of Columbus divulge that information to newspaper of a city that is looking to take the team, and has nothing to do with the lawsuit itself? More to the point, we know the plaintiffs didn’t leak it, because I confirmed that they hadn’t (as of 11:00 p.m. EDT) received a copy of motion yet. And we (as of 2:00 a.m. EDT) *still* have no confirmation that the motion has been filed yet.
Now it’s entirely possible that if the matter was filed late in the day, it wouldn’t be processed until the following day (or even Monday). And per the local rules, as long as the documents were filed by 11:59 p.m. local time, they count as being filed that day. So in theory, the documents may not show up for a couple of days, but they’ll still count as being filed on the day they were sent to the court.
So why haven’t the plaintiffs gotten a copy of the motion? Based on what I’ve been hearing, PSV/MLS have not been emailing/sending courtesy copies of any filings to the plaintiffs. Which means that the plaintiffs have to either wait for them to be uploaded, or go to the courthouse to get hard copies. Which isn’t a particularly difficult task for the plaintiff as a government agency, but it does betray a lack of professional courtesy in this case. I’m not sure what the deal is; even the most adversarial cases tend to agree to exchange documents electronically.
So where we are at now is with a story with (strategically) leaked information, and a plaintiff who hasn’t seen a motion that was due today. A due date that was extended with the agreement of the plaintiff at the request of PSV/MLS, mind you. It’s rare that I’m left speechless, but watching this unfold in real-time left me at a loss for words.
So tomorrow we presume this motion will drop. Or at least we’ll get some notification it was filed. When I created that Pettiness Chart, I was mostly joking about how parties treat each other in litigation. If only I had known.