Serious rumblings that we could get a formal SaveDTheCrew announcement this week. After the chaos on October 12, I reported the deal was “largely done.” Of course, that didn’t mean all of the signatures have been affixed to the proper documents, or that MLS was planning one of their customary events to announce the sale. There is nothing that I can quite confirm right now (MLS is being characteristically quiet), but things have definitely intensified on multiple fronts from multiple sides. I can add a few tidbits.
1) Discussions have increased about the unwinding of the lawsuit (dismissal terms, etc.), though we are still a ways from that. Even with MLS announcing the sale, it won’t be a simple as just signing a dismissal order (see below).
2) Correction time (for me): On the MtD, there is no 90-day limit/local rule requiring Judge Brown to make a decision. He can by all accounts take all the time he wants. That said…
3) Related to that, I’m also hearing that Judge Brown has let it be known that a ruling on the Motion to Dismiss could come in the next couple of weeks. Though it sounds like that is more about getting the parties (MLS specifically) to get this deal over the line, lest the get a ruling that hurts their leverage. Everyone wants this done, so I’m sure there is motivation besides a potentially adverse ruling hanging over their heads.
4) Some folks were wondering about who pays attorneys fees. Specifically, whether MLS would try to make the plaintiffs pay for their fees. While the parties can obviously add whatever (legal) terms to a settlement they want, I can tell you, 1) The plaintiffs haven’t been approached about doing that, 2) It wouldn’t go over very well, 3) The general rule is that in a controversy such as this, each side ends up paying their own fees.
5) One thing I was told which was interesting: Even if the Haslam/Edwards deal goes through, the plaintiffs could continue to pursue this lawsuit, because the subject matter is a continuing controversy. That is, because the law could be invoked to prevent another team from leaving (say, the Cincinnati Bengals/F.C. Cincinnati), it would mean that another lawsuit could be filed. So in the interests of resolving the issue, the suit could continue as opposed to dismissing it and having to file it again at a later date, which would cost signifiant funds to start from scratch. Just think how much MLS would love having to continue defending this lawsuit after having sold the Crew to local owners! The plaintiffs certainly reserve the right to pursue the case even if MLS sells the team. Whether they’d actually do it is up for debate however.
6) I should also mention the fact that Austin FC is selling merchandise, which is something they were not doing previously. Presumably that was because MLS didn’t want to deal with the PR headache of selling merchandise for a team they were trying to move to a new location.
7) With the hiring of Gregg Berhalter by the U.S. Mens National Team, Anthony Precourt let it be known that the hiring process for a new coach and technical director is being done in consultation with the potential new owners. That’s obviously a big data point which says this thing is all but done.
This week is definitely shaping up to be a big one, so stay tuned.
HI Miki – good stuff as always and thanks for reducing the legal minutia to easy-to-understand detail.
Re: legal fees — if I remember correctly, Bricker + Eckler are working pro bono, yes? So, I wonder how much of an impact that would have on the issue of requesting legal fees….?
[…] Further, given the advanced state of negotiations, Judge Brown has also stayed the legal proceedings, essentially freezing the lawsuit until further notice. That means there will be no discovery process for the time being, so no document exchanges and depositions. If the rumors are right and a sale is announced this week, that generally renders the need to proceed moot (with one exception, which I outlined in my earlier piece today). […]