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After Courtroom Beatdown, Ex-‘Kraken’ Lawyer Withdraws Lawsuit Against MLB Over All-Star Game


MLB responds to lawsuit over all-star game

After striking out in spectacular fashion in a federal judge’s courtroom earlier this month, the non-profit group that sought a judicial order to bring back the 2021 All-Star Game to Atlanta held a press conference on Monday to announce their next move: Intentionally walking their lawsuit out of court.

“MLB’s decision to punish these Atlanta small businesses and residents who bear no responsibility for their state’s political action was wrong—no matter what one judge says,” Alfredo Ortiz, the CEO of the so-called Job Creators Network (JCN), said in a makeshift press conference on Monday.

Lawyers for Major League Baseball and the player’s union did not immediately respond to emails seeking comment.

The group filed a federal lawsuit in New York seeking to reverse Major League Baseball’s decision to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta, Georgia to Denver, Colorado in the wake of Georgia’s new voting law. The law’s opponents have called SB 202 a “voter suppression bill” meant to appease “conspiracy theorists” upset about the 2020 election outcome. JCN’s lawyer in their effort, Howard Kleinhendler, participated in efforts to overturn the election, assisting the so-called “Kraken” team led by the likes of Lin Wood and Sidney Powell.

Just like the “Kraken” team’s lawsuits in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Georgia got beaten out of court, Kleinhendler’s lawsuit fared no better. JCN formally surrendered in their legal offensive on Monday.

Standing in front of a podium near the courthouse where Kleinhendler received a judicial beatdown on June 10, Ortiz added: “The Job Creators Network will continue fighting tirelessly to make it right. In the meantime, we have decided to withdraw our lawsuit against Major League Baseball.”

The notice of dismissal hit the federal court docket just as Ortiz made the announcement.

“While we are withdrawing our case from federal court here in New York, we will continue to evaluate our legal options and other out of court opportunities,” Ortiz added, promising more information about that front in the “coming days.”

The announcement signals that the group will not appeal a ruling by U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni, who recently found it would be too kind to call their lawsuit “weak and muddled.”

During a roughly 90-minute hearing earlier this month, Caproni systematically shredded the justifications offered by Kleinhendler for a court order to bring the Midsummer Classic back to Atlanta. She rejected the argument that Major League Baseball protesting Georgia’s voting laws amounted to intimidation, and she noted that equal-protection laws are not designed to protect residents of a state.

Caproni’s frustration was palpable over the course of an hour that she questioned Kleinhendler that she appeared to raise her voice frequently and at one point, interjected, “For God’s sake!”

Despite criticizing her ruling, the Job Creators Network balked at the notion of bringing their case to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals—a short walk next door from the press conference. The notice that the group filed with the court on Monday agrees to a voluntary dismissal “without prejudice,” but the odds of the lawsuit’s revival are vanishingly long.

The All-Star Game is scheduled to take place on July 13th.

In his four-page long speech, Ortiz purported to speak on behalf of small businesses and the people of Georgia. The Addison, Texas-based organization that he leads was founded by Bernie Marcus, the co-founder and former CEO of Home Depot. Its main funder is the Mercer family, according to Mother Jones.

And Ortiz, speaking on behalf of “deprived local small businesses” that he called the “backbone of Atlanta’s communities,” reported $429,956 in compensation from the group plus a $100,050 bonus in 2019, the most recent year tax records are available.

“The real hopes and dreams of the people in Georgia were shattered the day Major League Baseball decided to pull the game from them,” Ortiz, the California-born leader of the Lone Star State non-profit, added.

Read the notice of dismissal below:

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Law&Crime's managing editor Adam Klasfeld has spent more than a decade on the legal beat. Previously a reporter for Courthouse News, he has appeared as a guest on NewsNation, NBC, MSNBC, CBS's "Inside Edition," BBC, NPR, PBS, Sky News, and other networks. His reporting on the trial of Ghislaine Maxwell was featured on the Starz and Channel 4 documentary "Who Is Ghislaine Maxwell?" He is the host of Law&Crime podcast "Objections: with Adam Klasfeld."