Owners of the Binghamton Mets (Class AA; Eastern League) are indefinitely prohibited from selling the team to anyone but Main Street Baseball and Clark Minker, as U.S. District Court Judge David Hurd raises “serious questions going to the issue of good faith negotiations.”
The issue: Main Street Baseball and Minker, who also own the Wilmington Blue Rocks (High Class A; Carolina League) agreed to buy the B-Mets for $8.5 million, setting in motion a franchise shift that would see the Texas Rangers buy the Blue Rocks franchise for $12.5 million and move the team to Kinston, N.C., with an upgrade in 2016 for Frawley Stadium. (The sale of the Blue Rocks franchise is contingent on the purchase of the B-Mets, so Kinston fans can cool their heels for a little while.) After the B-Mets owners deciding not to follow through on the purchase agreement and letting a Letter of Intent expire, Main Street Baseball and Minker sued, saying they had fulfilled all the terms of the LOI and made a $100,000 deposit on the purchase of the team. Two days after the LOI expired the B-Mets announced the sale to another party, who would keep the B-Mets in town. Main Street Baseball and Minker were issued a temporary restraining order barring the sale of the team after arguing a breach of conflict claim; today’s decision indefinitely extends that restraining order, prohibiting the sale of the team to anyone but Main Street Baseball and Minker:
Plaintiffs have carried their burden to establish that there are sufficiently serious questions going to the merits of their breach of contract claim; they are likely to suffer irreparable harm in the absence of a preliminary injunction restraining defendants from selling the BMets to another buyer; the balance of equities tips in their favor; and an injunction would not be contrary to the public interest. For these reasons, a preliminary injunction will be entered enjoining defendants from selling the BMets to another buyer. Defendants are free to continue negotiations and discussions with any other buyers.
Take a look at the decision; Hurd looks at claims and legal arguments made from both sides. A full trial on the merits of the breach-of-conflict claims has not been scheduled.