Astros lawyers fire back at fans suing team over sign-stealing scandal


The Houston Astros may have known what was coming in 2017 in their march to a World Series, but they needed more than a garbage can to predict what would be coming their way this offseason. The sign-stealing scandal that consumed baseball this winter brought forth everything from league-wide criticism to lawsuits from Astros fans themselves.

Now the team’s lawyers are firing back at the season-ticket holders who filed a lawsuit, saying they have “no legal standing” to recover damages.

The Houston legal team responded to its first lawsuit last week, according to Daniel Kaplan at The Athletic, and it represents their first step forward in defending themselves from lawsuits. In this case, season-ticket holders sued the team for “deceptively overcharging” them after winning the 2017 World Series. The Astros have also been sued by an opposing pitcher who claims the Astros’ cheating ruined his career.

According to The Athletic, the Astros’ legal team responded by saying:

“There is, however, no legal standing for season-ticket holders like the Plaintiff to recover damages for their disappointment over the Astros performance for any of the seasons that may have been implicated in the controversy. As many courts have held, a ticket holder has only the right to enter a venue and to have a seat for the ticketed game, and cannot complain afterwards that the game should have been played differently.”

The Houston Astros' lawyers say fans don't have a case to sue them. (Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)
The Houston Astros' lawyers say fans don't have a case to sue them. (Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports)

Earlier in their filing, the Astros lawyers said the team was sorry, but that’s about it.

“The ‘sign-stealing’ controversy has been a source of great disappointment to Astros fans as well as to the Astros organization,” the team’s lawyers wrote. “On several occasions, members of the Astros organization – including individual players and its Owner, Jim Crane – have expressed their sincere apologies and remorse for the events described in the report by the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.”

The plaintiffs didn’t seem to budge on the Astros’ response, saying instead that they welcome the discovery phase of the lawsuit. Bob Hilliard, co-founder of the law firm Hilliard Martinez Gonzales, retorted to The Athletic:

“We’re going to go take the depositions of all the players involved wherever they are now, and I want to know from Day One, how this happened and who was involved in it,” he said.

We may not get any baseball games on the field soon because of the coronavirus lockdown, but at least this clash will be something for baseball fans to watch.

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