Small businesses in Atlanta, Georgia suffered another loss on Thursday as an effort to return the MLB All-Star Game to Georgia floundered.
The Job Creators Network — a conservative advocacy group — filed a lawsuit in federal court on May 31 against Major League Baseball, claiming the league’s decision to move the 2021 All-Star Game out of Atlanta cost businesses in the metro area $100 million. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, and U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Caproni ruled against JCN on Thursday.
According to Breitbart, Caproni stated that the lawsuit failed to provide proof that moving the game caused small businesses to have suffered any injuries. Caproni also said that the plaintiff undermined its case by suggesting that Major League Baseball could set up a $100 million relief fund for businesses harmed by the move as a remedy for any potential loss.
The decision to move the MLB All-Star Game came after the introduction of Georgia’s Election Integrity Bill, which Democrats called “Jim Crow on steroids.” The commissioner of Major League Baseball — Rob Manfred — decided to move the game in April after discussions with the Players Association, former and current players, and MLB teams.
“Over the last week, we have engaged in thoughtful conversations with Clubs, former and current players, the Players Association, and The Players Alliance, among others, to listen to their views,” Manfred said in a statement. “I have decided that the best way to demonstrate our values as a sport is by relocating this year’s All-Star Game and MLB Draft.”
The decision — while applauded by popular Democrats — was blasted by Republicans as nothing more than a move by the league to appease the Left. The suit sought the return of the All-Star Game to Georgia, $100 million in damages to local businesses, and $1 billion in punitive damages.
“MLB robbed the small businesses of Atlanta — many of them minority-owned — of $100 million, we want the game back where it belongs,” Alfredo Ortiz, president and CEO of the Job Creators Network, said in a statement. “This was a knee-jerk, hypocritical and illegal reaction to misinformation about Georgia’s new voting law which includes Voter-ID. Major League Baseball itself requests ID at will-call ticket windows at Yankee Stadium in New York, Busch Stadium in St. Louis and at ballparks all across the country.”
On Monday, Major League Baseball responded in court, calling the lawsuit “political theatrics.”
“JCN has been vocal in opposing MLB’s decision, but that does not give it a basis for federal civil rights claims,” lawyers for MLB wrote in Monday’s filing. “Moreover, despite its claims of exigency, JCN spent the last two months putting up billboards in Times Square and running inflammatory advertisements in The New York Times. When its publicity campaign had no effect, JCN decided to sue, but this Court’s time should not be wasted on political theatrics.”
Judge Caproni and attorney Howard Kleinhendler — representing JCN — went back and forth as Caproni made her thoughts heard, stating that there were no grounds for the lawsuit.
“We’re saddened for those small businesses because this game, in many cases, was the difference between possibly keeping their doors open and closed forever,” Kleinhendler said.
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