Detroit Tigers Say Age Bias Suit Should Be Thrown Out

Detroit Tigers Age Bias Suit

The Detroit Tigers are making a bold stand in a Michigan federal court, urging for the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by two former scouts who allege age discrimination. Randall Johnson and Gary Pellant claim they were fired as part of a larger effort to eliminate older staff members. However, the Tigers argue that the case should be tossed out in favor of a similar lawsuit filed in Colorado.

Detroit Tigers Age Bias Suit : The Legal Maneuver

In a motion filed on Monday, the Major League Baseball team invoked the “first-to-file” rule, asserting that Johnson and Pellant’s Age Discrimination in Employment Act suit should take a back seat to the Colorado litigation, initiated in June. According to this rule, when cases involving nearly identical parties and issues are filed in two different district courts, priority is given to the court where the initial lawsuit was lodged.

Administrative Duplication

The Tigers emphasized that pursuing both cases simultaneously would only lead to redundancy and the potential for conflicting judgments. They argued that allowing the Michigan suit to proceed alongside the Colorado action would result in administrative inefficiencies and judicial inconsistencies.

Detroit Tigers Age Bias Suit : Allegations of Bias

Johnson, aged 67, and Pellant, 68, allege in their December complaint that their termination came amidst a wave of dismissals targeting older employees. They claim that the team attributed their firing to financial strains caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a justification they deem as unfounded given the team’s continued profitability during the crisis.

Echoes in Colorado

The Tigers highlighted that the Colorado lawsuit mirrors the claims made by Johnson and Pellant, encompassing similar allegations of age discrimination within the baseball scouting industry. Named plaintiffs from various teams across the nation, including the Chicago Cubs, Philadelphia Phillies, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, are involved in the Colorado litigation.

Shift in Scouting Landscape

Both suits assert that the age bias dates back to 2015 when Major League Baseball underwent a transformation under a new commissioner, emphasizing analytics and video scouting for talent acquisition. Older scouts allegedly faced displacement under the pretext that they were less adept at utilizing modern scouting techniques.

Detroit Tigers Age Bias Suit : Legal Wrangling

The Tigers contend that Pellant’s inclusion in the Colorado suit, albeit introduced at a later stage, should be regarded as part of the original filing. They argue that allowing parallel litigation would impose unnecessary burdens on both parties, leading to duplicated efforts in the discovery process.

No Immediate Response

Representatives for either party did not provide immediate comments on the matter as of Tuesday.

Legal Representation

Johnson and Pellant are represented by Raymond J. Carey of Raymond J. Carey & Associates PLLC, along with Robert E. Goodman Jr., Mitchell C. Abeita, and Eric N. Roberson of Kilgore & Kilgore PLLC. Meanwhile, the Detroit Tigers are represented by Thomas R. Paxton and Paige A. Henry of Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PLLC.