A federal judge in Manhattan on Thursday rejected the lawsuit by a non-profit group representing Atlanta-area small businesses seeking to mandate that Major League Baseball return to playing the league’s All-Star Game in Atlanta in July, the Associated Press reports.
U.S. District Judge Valerie E. Carponi ruled that the plaintiffs failed to make their case that the businesses had suffered any irreparable damages by the decision of the league to move the game, a decision made after the Georgia legislature and governor rushed through voting restrictions designed to suppress voter turnout.
Rob Manfred, the league’s commissioner, said the decision to move the game came after consulting with individual players who were likely to be selected to the All-Star teams as well as the Players Alliance, a group of Black players formed after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
In its filings, the plaintiffs claimed the businesses in the Atlanta metro area would suffer $100 million in losses due to the relocation of the game. They sought $100 million in compensatory damages and $1 billion in punitive damages.
The plaintiff’s lawyer, Howard Kleinhendler, said he was representing the Washington, DC-based Job Creators Network, described in the lawsuit as a nonpartisan organization supporting over 30 million businesses nationwide, including over 10,000 Georgia businesses. He said his clients support the change to Georgia election law.
In fact, the Job Creators Network is not a nonpartisan organization. It is a Texas-based conservative group founded by the Donald Trump-supporting former CEO of Home Depot and funded by the conservative Mercer Family Foundation.
Carponi questioned the JCN’s standing in the case and expressed doubts that any potential losses by local businesses would be close to $100 million. According to the AP, she said the plaintiff further undermined its case when it suggested that Major League Baseball could remedy the harm by setting up a $100 million relief fund for harmed businesses. Such a fund, she noted, would make it hard to argue any harm would be irreparable.