Alex Rodriguez – An Amazing Legal Drama:

Alex Rodriguez – An Amazing Legal Drama:

Alex Rodriguez – An Amazing Legal Drama:

It's like something out of a movie. Secret drug exchanges. Code words. Cover-ups. Stolen documents. Famous people. There is probably already a script in Hollywood somewhere. Welcome to the life of Alex Rodriguez.

I became a fan of the New York Yankees during my last year at West Point and I have folowed them very closely since then. One of my favorite things to do on a warm summer night is to play Wiffle Ball in the back yard with my kids while the Yankees play in the background on the satellite radio. I never thought that my interest in baseball would lead me to one of the most interesting legal documents that I have ever come across. On Monday, Yankees third-baseman Alex Rodriguez filed a federal lawsuit against Major League Baseball, the Commissioner of Baseball, and the Major League Baseball Players Association seeking to have a federal judge overturn the 162-game suspension handed down by the Major League Baseball Arbitration Panel two days earlier. Attached to that lawsuit was the decision of the Arbitration Panel. Both the Complaint and the Panel Decision are available generally on the Internet.

Originally, Bud Selig, the Commissioner of Baseball, suspended Rodriguez for 211 games for repeated violations of the league's Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program ("JDA") and for attempts to cover up his use of banned substances. Rodriguez and the MLBPA appealed to the Arbitration Panel under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") between MLP and MLBPA. Ultimately, the Panel reduced the Rodriguez suspension from 211 games to 162 games. Amazingly, the decision to suspend Rodriguez for an entire season is the least interesting part of the decision. In fact, the Panel Decision contains something for everyone.

For the casual fan of TV legal dramas, the Panel Decision demonstrates that nothing is more dramatic than real life. According to the Panel Decision, the suspension against Rodriguez stem from his involvement with Anthony Bosch, an unlicensed doctor, who provided Rodriguez with hGh, testosterone, and other banned substances. The facts involve shady associates of Rodriguez, secret meetings in hotels using the service elevator, code names for the banned substances, an "indiscreet [adult] liaison by one MLB investigator with a former [Bosch] employee," stolen notebooks, and numerous allegations by MLB and Rodriguez that each side attempted to subvert the investigation. Included among the allegations was the charge that Rodriguez induced witnesses to make false statements in a cover-up attempt, that both sides attempted to wrongfully purchase the stolen notebooks, and that MLB threatened one witness with immigration problems if he didn't cooperate.

For lawyers, the discussion of the use of electronic evidence is very interesting in its own right. Over the course of their relationship, Bosch and Rodriguez exchanged over 500 BlackBerry Messages ("BBMs") and 556 text messages. This electronic evidence played an important role in the Panel's decision and demonstrates once again how important electronic evidence issues are in the investigation of a case. Interestingly, Rodriguez contested the authenticity of the BlackBerry evidence and asked to have his own expert examine the BlackBerry, a request that the Arbitration Panel denied even though MLB's experts had an opportunity to examine the BlackBerry. The decision by the Panel preventing Rodriguez's experts from examining the BlackBerry forms a key piece of Rodriguez's federal court case.

From a legal standpoint, Rodriguez faces an uphill battle in getting the 162-game suspension overturned. No doubt he hurt his own cause by refusing to testify at the arbitration hearing.

From the standpoint of a baseball fan, it is amazing to me that a sport so focused on its history has such little recent history to be proud of. Baseball's all-time hits leader banned for life because of gambling. Baseball's all-time home-run leader completely disgraced amid allegations of his own PED use. An entire generation of Hall of Fame candidates under suspicion.

Baseball takes a hit, but at least we have some legal fireworks to look forward to.