Lawyer spoils baseball team giveaways by making everyone equal

Oakland A's fans will get their money's worth when the team gives away hats, tote bags and other souvenirs at games, thanks to a bonehead lawyer who sued the baseball team for sex discrimination because he didn't get a woman's hat on Mother's Day five years ago.

The team and San Diego lawyer Alfred Rava have reached a preliminary settlement on a class-action suit Rava filed, according to a Contra Costa Times story in Walnut Creek, CA.

In part due to the suit, the A's will no longer offer male- or female-only giveaways, according to team spokesman Bob Rose. On May 10 this year -- Mother's Day -- the A's gave away tote bags to the first 10,000 fans.
So now, instead of 10,000 moms getting a free gift from the A's on Mother's Day, probably about half as many women will get the pink tote bags, plaid hats or whatever the team is promoting.

The fans at the Mother's Day A's game this year didn't have to be women, as they were for another Mother's Day promotion on May 8, 2004, when Rava didn't get a free plaid reversible bucket hat.

That slight must have upset Rava a lot, or he was after another payday as a lawyer, because he filed a lawsuit against the A's two years later, claiming sex discrimination.

The settlement, which won't be finalized until August, calls for the A's organization and Macy's, which sponsored the giveaway, to pay up to $250,000 to up to 2,500 men -- or $100 per man -- if they can prove they attended the game. An additional $260,000 will go court-approved attorney fees and costs and other fees, including up to $20,000 in an "enhancement fee" to Rava for representing the group in the lawsuit.

That's what it must have come down to -- $20,000 for the lawyer. My guess is the A's didn't want to extend their legal fees by taking the case to court, even though the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim won a similar suit that Rava brought to court two years ago when a judge dismissed it. An appeals court also ruled in favor of the Angels.

Still, the Angels decided not to have giveaways for men or women only. This year the Angels gave away pink tote bags to all fans 18 and older on Mother's Day. Yeah for all the guys who scored pink tote bags.

Even after the Angels changed their policy, Rava complained about age discrimination, claiming civil rights were being violated when fans under 18 weren't given a red "Mother's Day Ladies Tote Bag." Rava told the Los Angeles Times that the bag was "ageless."

"By looking at the bag, you can see a 17-year-old male or female would be just as happy with it as an 18-year-old male or female," he said.

If Rava has a wife and kids, I wonder what they'll get him for Father's Day on Sunday? A pink tote bag sounds perfect.

Aaron Crowe is an unemployed journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read about his job search at
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