Bloomberg News

Dodgers Probably Won’t See Rivals’ TV Contracts, Judge Says

October 05, 2011

(Updates with attempt to remove lawyers in seventh paragraph.)

Oct. 5 (Bloomberg) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers probably won’t be allowed to defend Frank McCourt’s ownership of the team by comparing how Commissioner Bud Selig handled the TV contracts of the other 29 Major League Baseball clubs, a judge said.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross in Wilmington, Delaware, said at a hearing today that he’s skeptical about the Dodgers’ effort to compare Selig’s treatment of McCourt with his treatment of other owners.

Gross said he is “likely” to refuse a Dodgers’ request to review the television contracts of the other teams for evidence that Selig is biased against McCourt. Gross said he will issue a written ruling within days.

The judge ruled last week that the Dodgers can’t seek information from, or about, the other baseball clubs to prepare for an Oct. 31 court hearing involving television rights. The Dodgers have asked Gross to reconsider how much information they can get from Major League Baseball.

Gross must decide whether to force McCourt to sell the team, as Selig has demanded, or let McCourt keep the team and raise the money he needs to get the Dodgers out of bankruptcy by auctioning the rights to televise future games.

The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy in June after Selig refused to approve a new TV contract McCourt had negotiated with the current broadcaster, News Corp.’s Fox Sports.

In a related ruling, Gross agreed to move to Oct. 12 a hearing on whether to disqualify the Dodgers’ bankruptcy law firms. Major League Baseball has asked Gross to remove Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP and Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor LLP from the case, claiming they represent McCourt’s interests and not those of the Dodgers.

The bankruptcy case is In re Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, 11- 12010, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

--Editors: Michael Hytha, Andrew Dunn

To contact the reporter on this story: Steven Church in Wilmington, Delaware, at schurch3@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net.


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