Garber v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball

Case # 12-cv-03704
Case Name Garber v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball
Jurisdiction US District Court for S.D. NY
Summary

Plaintiffs allege that Major League Baseball violated anti-trust laws to control televised access to their games.  MLB allows member clubs to create regional monopolies wherein member clubs receive anticompetative protections in exchange for not infringing on the protections of other clubs.  Consumers who wish to watch "out of market" games must do so through through MLB-owned MLB.TV or "MLB Extra Innings."  Since access to the games is so tightly controlled, MLB is able to charge inflated prices for the product.  As an example, a St. Louis Cardinals fan living in San Francisco would only be able to watch games that happened to be broadcast on network television, unless they purchased the expensive "out of market" packages.

Final Approval Date 04/27/2016
Result
  1. Final Approval granted.
  2. Objector Hull appealed the Final Approval.
  3. Class counsel motioned for an Appeal Bond and Sanctions against Objector Hull and his attorneys.
  4. As part of a Stipulation to Withdraw, Class Counsel agreed to withdraw their Sanctions and Bond Motions in exchange for the withdrawal of the Hull Appeal.
  5. However, the District Court still found it necessary to hold a hearing on the Sanctions Motion.

The Court characterized Mr. Bandas' objection strategy as:

File an objection. If you can get money from the plaintiffs' lawyer, great. Then you go away. You get the money. Apparently your client doesn't because your client testified that he has never gotten any money. (See Transcript of Sanctions Hearing, 22:8-12)

I am talking about a situation where your client has testified that although they objected many times and you've acknowledged that you got cash for withdrawing objections, your client testifies that he has never seen a penny of it. (Id, 61:9-13)

[W]hat I see is a long history of filing these sorts of objections, having judges call you on it, and at least on this one when you kind of get to the point where you'll have to show your cards, you bail. My concern is that this is simply a pattern, it is a strategy that is designed to throw monkey wrenches into class settlements so that you can get money to go away from the plaintiffs' lawyer. (Id, 60:6-13)

The Court also express concern that Mr. Bandas was trying to avoid the jurisdiction of the District Court, noting, 

You usually don't have lawyers doing what you do, which is expressly not filing a notice of appearance apparently so you can avoid the possibility of sanctions. That is a little unusual. (Id, 19:7-10)

Despite having the Court serious misgivings about Mr. Bandas' conduct, calling it "unfitting for any member of the legal profession" (Order Declining to Impose Sanctions, page 9), Mr. Bandas' apparent strategy to avoid sanctions was successful, in that the Court found insufficient grounds to sanction him since he did not file an appearance.  The Court noted that 

Bandas' settlement of objections has been without any benefit to his client, Hull, or to the class, supporting the conclusion that many, if not most, of the objections being raised by Bandas as not being pursued in good faith.  Ultimately, Bandas wasted a substantial amount of judicial time and effort, without any beneft to Hull or to the class. (Id, page 11-12)

The Court also required Mr. Bandas to produce a copy of the quoted Order to all local counsel he retains for future objections before the Southern District of New York.

Dismissal of Last Appeal 07/14/2016
Attachments Docket Report.pdf
Second Amended Class Action Complaint.pdf
Preliminary Approval Order.pdf
Plaintiff's Response to Objections.pdf
Final Approval Order.pdf
Transcript of Sanctions Hearing.pdf
Order Declining to Impose Sanctions.pdf
https://www.law360.com/classaction/articles/895739/-unprofessional-atty-avoids-sanctions-in-mlb-tv-settlement
http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/federal_judge_blasts_at_best_unprofessional_behavior_of_lawyer_once_deemed
http://www.newyorklawjournal.com/this-weeks-news/id=1202780180484/Judge-Blasts-Serial-Objector-and-Orders-Him-to-Share-Her-Order-With-Local-Counsel?mcode=1202615036097&curindex=1&slreturn=20170208120815
Added to Index 2016-04-19 11:57:58 -0700 MST
Last Updated 2017-03-08 10:17:43 -0700 MST

Objection of Sean Hull

Objectors Sean Hull
Signers David Stein
Attorneys David Stein
Christopher A. Bandas
Forrest S. Turkish
Robert W. Clore
Summary
  1. Settlement offers no monetary relief for class members.
  2. Attorneys' fees are excessive and improperly calculated.

NOTE:  Attorney Stein represented Mr. Hull at the District Court and withdrew his appearance following the Motion for Sanctions.  Mr. Turkish then took over as Mr. Hull's counsel.  Mssrs. Bandas and Clore filed their appearances on the appeal.

Attachments Objection of Sean Hull.pdf
Order Granting Hearing on Prospective Appeal Bond.pdf
Order Granting Expedited Motion for Sanctions.pdf
Withdrawal as Counsel by Attorney Stein.pdf
Motion for Sanctions.pdf
Memorandum in Support of Motion for Sanctions.pdf
Responsive Letter Regarding Motions for Sanctions and Appeal Bond.pdf
Memorandum in Opposition to Motion for Sanctions.pdf
Declaration in Support of Memorandum in Opposition to Motion for Sanctions.pdf
Response in Opposition to Motion for Sanctions.pdf
Reply in Support of Motion for Sanctions.pdf
Letter Regarding Objector Discovery.pdf
Response to Letter Regarding Objector Discovery.pdf
Response to Letter Regarding Objector Discovery.pdf
Order Requiring Objector Hull to Appear for a Deposition.pdf
Letter to Compel Discovery Response by Objector Hull.pdf
Turkish Letter in Response to Discovery Request.pdf
Hull Deposition Excerpts.pdf
Motion for Appeal Bond.pdf
Motion for Sanctions Against Attorney Turkish.pdf
Memorandum in Support of Motion for Sanctions Against Attorney Turkish.pdf
Letter Requesting Order on Motion for Sanctions.pdf
Appeal of Objector Hull.pdf
Bandas Appearance for Objector-Appellant Hull.pdf
Clore Appearance for Objector-Appellant Hull.pdf
Stipulation to Withdraw.pdf
Withdrawal of Hull Appeal.pdf
Hull Appeal Docket.pdf
Letter Requiring Sanctions Conference to Go Forward.pdf
Transcript of Sanctions Hearing.pdf
Memorandum in Answer to the Court Regarding Sanctions.pdf
https://www.law360.com/articles/817855/mlb-objector-s-atty-gets-3rd-degree-over-possible-sanctions
Unsealed Memorandum in Support of Motion for Sanctions.pdf
Order Declining to Impose Sanctions.pdf
Added to Index 2016-04-19 12:43:18 -0700 MST
Last Updated 2017-02-28 14:26:04 -0700 MST