The very public dispute between the Houston Astros and former general manager Jeff Luhnow over his dismissal in the wake of the team’s cheating scandal roiled to the surface this week with the filing of a breach of contract lawsuit in the Texas 125th District Court.
Based on his experiences representing former head football coach David Beaty in litigation involving the University of Kansas’ attempts to avoid paying his $3 million contract buyout, the Houston Chronicle turned to Michael Lyons for his perspective on the prospects for the Luhnow case.
Like in the Beaty case, which ended with a $2.55 million settlement, Lyons told the Chronicle that he does not expect to see the Luhnow case reach the courtroom. However, the case filing has provided Luhnow’s legal team a measure of success by making his allegations against the team and Major League Baseball part of publicly available court documents.
“Arbitration is confidential. It is outside the public purview and accompanied by orders that make the proceedings secret. Filing suit is a way for Jeff Luhnow to clear the air from a PR standpoint and get his story out in a way he might not otherwise have been able to do,” said Lyons.
“It’s convenient for (teams) to come up with a fall guy, engineer a ‘for cause’ situation and get out of the contract. That appears to be the motivation for the Astros. Somebody had to be a sacrificial lamb, and they had to make sure there wouldn’t be far-reaching financial consequences,” he said.
The full article, “Jeff Luhnow’s Lawsuit Versus Astros Likely to Wind Up in Arbitration,” is available here.