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MiLB Player Pay Lawsuit on Hold — For Now

Major League Baseball logoA lawsuit filed by former Minor League Baseball players seeking back wages has been put on hold again, as Major League Baseball’s legal team prepares for arguments before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Lead plaintiff and former Miami Marlins farmhand Aaron Senne had sued Major League Baseball and its 30 teams, arguing that he and thousands of other former minor leaguers were paid less than the minimum wage, seeking to certify his lawsuit as a class action. After being dismissed, the lawsuit was reinstated with a much narrower focus, limited to players who participated in the High-A California League, instructional league or extended spring training since Feb. 7, 2011; players in Florida and Arizona were excluded from the proceedings,

On Friday, Magistrate Judge Joseph C. Spero granted MLB’s request to appeal his decisions to the Ninth Circuit.

“There is a possibility that class members will be confused if class notices are issued before the 9th Circuit has resolved the pending petitions and then have to be modified or retracted as a result of rulings by the 9th Circuit, a result that will harm plaintiffs,” Spero wrote. “The court concludes that these harms are significant and outweigh any prejudice to plaintiffs arising from the delay associated with entry of a stay.”

Despite the presence of minor leaguers in the lawsuit, Minor League Baseball is not a party in the proceedings. However, any changes to player wages would inevitably cause ripples in MiLB, with MLB teams probably looking to recoup any additional player costs from their affiliates. And with 2020 approaching, the economics of the game could be altered by what is decided in this lawsuit.

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