NEW YORK — Alex Rodriguez’s lawyers were given the go-ahead by a federal judge to make public the arbitrator’s decision that led to the season-long suspension of the New York Yankees star in his planned lawsuit seeking to overturn the discipline.
During a short hearing in federal court in Manhattan, U.S. District Judge William H. Pauley III brushed aside concerns from the Major League Baseball Players Association that revealing portions of the intended suit and Saturday’s decision by arbitrator Fredric Horowitz might violate confidentiality provisions of the sport’s collective bargaining agreement.
The decision came a day after the founder of a now-closed Florida anti-aging clinic said during a “60 Minutes” interview he administered an elaborate doping program for the 14-time All-Star starting in 2010. MLB commissioner Bud Selig told the program that Rodriguez’s actions were “beyond comprehension.”
“Given the intense public interest in this matter and commissioner Selig’s disclosures last night on ‘60 Minutes,’ it’s difficult to imagine that any portion of this proceeding should be under seal,” Pauley said. “Mr. Rodriguez is directed to file his unredacted complaint with the attached exhibits.
Rodriguez’s lawyers had feared filing the complete versions might lead to additional discipline from MLB.
“In an abundance of caution, so as to not run afoul of the agreements, we brought this application,” said Jordan Siev, a ReedSmith lawyer representing Rodriguez. “We’re perfectly content to unredact and file the entire complaint. ‘’
Pauley said there was a presumption in federal courts that the public should have access to documents. He said the presumption of access could be overridden if there was evidence the courts were being used improperly to force otherwise confidential information to be made public.
“There’s no evidence here of any bad faith,” he said.
Howard Ganz of Proskauer, representing MLB, said the league was not seeking to seal any parts of the written decision, which has not been made public.
The three-time MVP was suspended for 211 games last August by Selig, and Horowitz presided over 12 days of hearings from September through November. Horowitz reduced the penalty to 162 games plus any postseason games played by the Yankees this year.
The brief court proceeding was scheduled so hastily that Joe Tacopino, a Rodriguez lawyer, and union General Counsel Dave Prouty, participated by telephone.
Prouty told the judge the union wanted to redact any portions of the arbitrator’s ruling that touched on subjects required to remain confidential under baseball’s collective bargaining agreement.
“The players’ association believes that those matters should stay confidential, that is, the decision and the underlying proceedings,” he said.