IMPORTANT UPDATE: The Court held the final approval hearing on February 17, 2023 and has taken the motion under consideration. A ruling is not expected until after March 2023.
What is this lawsuit about?
In this lawsuit, current and former minor league baseball players sued Major League Baseball (or “MLB”) and the MLB Clubs claiming they failed to pay minor league players minimum wage and overtime pay in violation of the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and state wage-and-hour laws in California, Arizona and Florida. The lawsuit also brought claims under other state laws, and sought civil penalties under California’s Private Attorneys General Act of 2004, California Labor Code § 2698 et seq. (“PAGA”).
The lawsuit is brought by the following “Named Plaintiffs”: Omar Aguilar, Craig Bennigson, Daniel Britt, Matthew Daly, Leonard Davis, Aaron Dott, Grant Duff, Matthew Frevert, Lauren Gagnier, Jonathan Gaston, Nicholas Giarraputo, Brandon Henderson, Bryan Henry, Mitchell Hilligoss, Ryan Hutson, Witer Jimenez, Kyle Johnson, Jake Kahaulelio, Ryan Khoury, Ryan Kiel, Matthew Lawson, Michael Liberto, Barret Loux, Bradley McAtee, Aaron Meade, Justin Murray, Jeffrey Nadeau, Joseph Newby, Brett Newsome, Kyle Nicholson, Oliver Odle, Roberto Ortiz, Tim Pahuta, Dustin Pease, Brandon Pinckney, David Quinowksi, Gaspar Santiago, Cody Sedlock, Aaron Senne, Leslie Smith, Bradley Stone, Mark Wagner, Kris Watts, Joel Weeks, and Kyle Woodruff. All of these Named Plaintiffs are also Class Representatives except Omar Aguilar, Leonard Davis, Witer Jimenez, Bradley McAtee, and Roberto Ortiz.
The MLB Clubs means all 30 of the Major League Baseball Clubs, including Kansas City Royals Baseball Club, LLC; Marlins Teamco LLC; San Francisco Baseball Associates LLC; Angels Baseball LP; St. Louis Cardinals, LLC; Colorado Rockies Baseball Club, Ltd.; The Baseball Club of Seattle, LLLP; The Cincinnati Reds, LLC; Houston Baseball Partners LLC; Athletics Investment Group LLC; Rogers Blue Jays Baseball Partnership; Padres, L.P.; San Diego Padres Baseball Club, L.P.; Minnesota Twins, LLC; Detroit Tigers, Inc.; Los Angeles Dodgers LLC; Los Angeles Dodgers Holding Company LLC; Sterling Mets, L.P.; AZPB L.P.; Pittsburgh Associates, L.P.; New York Yankees Partnership; Rangers Baseball Express, LLC; Rangers Baseball, LLC; Chicago Cubs Baseball Club, LLC; Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, Inc.; Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club, L.P.; Atlanta National League Baseball Club, Inc. c/k/a Atlanta National League Baseball Club, LLC; Boston Red Sox Baseball Club L.P.; Baltimore Orioles, L.P.; Baltimore Orioles, Inc.; Chicago White Sox, Ltd.; Cleveland Indians Baseball Co., Inc. c/k/a Cleveland Guardians Baseball Co.; Cleveland Indians Baseball Co., L.P. c/k/a Cleveland Guardians Baseball Company, LLC; The Phillies; Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Ltd.; and Washington Nationals Baseball Club, LLC.
MLB and the MLB Clubs deny all claims in the lawsuit. The parties have agreed to settle the case at this time to avoid the uncertainty and cost of trial and any potential appeal.
The judge in the case is the Honorable Joseph C. Spero. He is the Chief Magistrate Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.
This case was filed as a class action. The Court certified classes under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 (“Rule 23”) and an FLSA collective in this case. You likely already received a notice about the pendency of this case in late 2015 (concerning the FLSA collective) and/or early 2021 (concerning the Rule 23 classes). This is a new notice alerting you to a proposed settlement in the case and notifying you of your rights.
If you previously opted out of (excluded yourself from) the Damages classes (defined below) or opted into the FLSA collective, your previous election remains unchanged. However, if you now wish to participate in the settlement, you can withdraw your request to opt out by contacting the Settlement Administrator before December 27, 2022 (or by March 23, 2023 if you were sent the notice on February 16, 2023).
Who is in the classes in this case?
This case involves two types of Rule 23 classes and the FLSA collective defined as follows:
- Rule 23 (b)(3) Damages class: All persons who, while signed to a Minor League Uniform Player Contract, participated in the California League for at least seven days on or after February 7, 2010 through August 26, 2022, participated in spring training, instructional leagues, or extended spring training in Florida on or after February 7, 2009 through August 26, 2022, or participated in spring training, instructional leagues, or extended spring training in Arizona on or after February 7, 2011 through August 26, 2022. Provided, however, that participation in the activities set forth above must have occurred prior to that person’s signing a Major League Uniform Player Contract.
- Rule 23(b)(2) Injunctive Relief class: Any person who is or will in the future be signed to a Minor League Uniform Player Contract and participates in spring training, extended spring training, the championship season, or instructional leagues in Florida or Arizona.
- FLSA collective: All persons who, while signed to a Minor League Uniform Player Contract, participated in the California League, or in spring training, extended spring training, or instructional leagues on or after February 7, 2011, and had not signed a Major League Uniform Player Contract before then, and previously filed a timely consent to join (“opted into”) the case.
You may be a member of one or more of the classes. You do not need to take any action to become a class/collective member if you meet any of the definitions above. We have identified the persons in the Damages and Injunctive Relief classes from defendants’ records, and the FLSA collective consists of those persons who previously opted into it.
What are the benefits under the proposed settlement?
The proposed settlement provides monetary and non-monetary benefits.
- Monetary Benefits: Defendants have agreed to pay a total of One Hundred and Eighty-Five Million Dollars ($185,000,000.00) to settle the case (the “maximum settlement amount”). If you participate in the settlement, you will receive a share of this money based on estimates of the hours you participated in minor league baseball. Each class member’s “settlement payment” will be determined as summarized in FAQ 7.
- Non-Monetary Benefits: In addition to the monetary benefits, the settlement provides an important benefit for current and future players. Specifically, MLB will rescind the part of the player contract that prevents MLB Clubs from paying wages to players outside the championship season. MLB will also send a memorandum to all MLB Clubs, advising them of the change to the contract, and advising each Club that it must compensate minor league players in compliance with wage-and-hour laws in effect in Arizona and Florida during spring training, extended spring training, instructional leagues and the championship season in those states, including any minimum wage laws that apply.