The Houston Astros have FINALLY responded to the Mike Bolsinger lawsuit (Well, sort of). In a March 25, 2020 filing in Los Angeles Superior Court obtained by MeidasTouch, the Houston Astros, owner Jim Crane, and team executive David Vigoa filed a legal document (GET THIS) claiming that the judge in the case, the Honorable Malcolm Mackey, is SOOOOO biased against them he cannot be fair and impartial and MUST GO. WTF?2020-03-25-Peremptory-challenge-copy
For those living under a rock, or inundated with depressing Coronavirus news, back in early February 2020, professional baseball pitcher Mike Bolsinger filed a lawsuit against the Houston Astros — later adding Crane and Vigoa as Defendants — for using electronic surveillance to steal his pitching signs during an August 4, 2019 game at Minute Made Park while Bolsinger was a relief pitcher with the Toronto Blue Jays. During the game, and particularly when Bolsinger was pitching, more “trash can bangs,” which were used to relay stolen signs to batters, were recorded than in any other game that season.
Bolsinger gave up four runs, four hits, and three walks in a third of an inning pitched, and was immediately sent to the minors that day. Bolsinger never pitched in the Major Leagues again. Bolsinger sued for tortious interference with his contract and unfair business practices among other claims.
Ironically, in its most recent (AND ONLY) filing, the Houston Astros and its co-defendants decried (oh, pity me) they would not be given a “fair shot” if they were forced to proceed before Judge Mackey. They filed what is called a “peremptory challenge” under California Code of Civil Procedure Section 170.6 which provides that either party can disqualify a Judge by filing a declaration under penalty of perjury stating the judge who was assigned to the case is “prejudiced against a party or attorney or the interest of a party or attorney appearing in the action or proceeding.”
“I have no clue why the Astros feel that way about the particular judge, but the irony is not lost on me that the team who broke every rule and cheated to win a World Series is now claiming a randomly assigned judge would not be fair to them,” Ben Meiselas, Geragos & Geragos, APC attorney for Bolsinger commented.
Judge Mackey was elected to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1978, served as presiding judge of that court in 1985—instituting reforms to stave overpayments to appointed counsel in criminal matters—and was elected to the Superior Court in 1988. Mackey presided over another high profile case involving Snoop Dogg in 2016.
It is not clear WHY the Astro’s felt Judge Mackey was biased against them.
In any event, under California law, during the circumscribed period of time, either party may utilize the disqualification procedures, but only once, and upon its invocation the request is automatically granted and the case will be assigned to another judge.
Ordinarily, the transfer procedure to another Court takes place fairly quickly and the wheels of justice proceed (woohoo!). However, given the Court closures resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic it is simply unlikely there is any Court staff who will be transferring the case to a Court anytime soon. What does this mean?
Delay. Delay. and Decay.