A class-action lawsuit put forth by former Minor League Baseball players arguing that teams have not been paying a livable wage has been temporarily put on hold, as the legal team representing Major League Baseball prepares its defense for the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
Former Miami Marlins minor leaguer and lead plaintiff Aaron Senne sued MLB and its 30 clubs, alleging him and thousands of other former MiLB players were paid below the national minimum wage, and sought to certify the lawsuit as class-action status. After initially being dismissed, the suit was revived with a much leaner focus, applying only to players who were in the Class A-Advance California League, an instructional league, or extended Spring Training since February 7, 2011; players who were in the camps in Florida and Arizona were excluded from the case.
Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero granted MLB’s request to appeal his decision to the Ninth Circuit Court on Friday.
“There is a possibilty that class members will be confused if class notices are issued before the Ninth Circuit has resolved the pending petitions and then have to be modified or retracted as a result of rulings by the Ninth Circuit, a result that will hurt plaintiffs,” Spero wrote. “The court concludes these harms are significant and outweigh any prejudice to plaintiffs arising from the delay associated with entry of a stay.”
Although there are many minor leaguers participating in the lawsuit, Minor League Baseball is not listed as a party in the case. Despite this, any major changes to players wages would send shock waves through MiLB, with MLB possibly looking to realign any losses for additional players pay from their affiliates. With the 2020 MiLB CBA quickly approaching, the economics and environment of the game could be drastically changed pending outcome of the suit.