All through a June 9 general public hearing for a yrs-lengthy civil issue involving former New York Yankee Alex Rodriguez, the retired slugger dodged a most likely embarrassing state of affairs when the presiding judge dominated in Rodriguez’s favor and quashed a subpoena directed towards Major League Baseball.
The plaintiff in the situation, Constantine Scurtis, Rodriguez’s previous brother-in-law, was looking for documents and proof pertaining to Rodriguez’s links to the Biogenesis doping scandal from 2013, the very same yr in which MLB disciplined Rodriguez with a 211-match suspension for his violating the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Software. Rodriguez fought the punishment in a bruising arbitration in the course of the slide of 2013, but the suspension was upheld by an unbiased arbitrator, whilst it was lowered to 162 games.
Rodriguez was suspended the total 2014 MLB year.
But Florida Circuit Court Choose Michael Hanzman did not see the relevance of that aspect of Rodriguez’s checkered previous in the ongoing civil situation in which A-Rod is pitted towards his ex-wife Cynthia’s youthful brother.
“The Court finds that Mr. Rodriguez’s alleged steroid use is not relevant nor fairly calculated to direct to discovery of admissible evidence on the difficulties framed by the pleadings in this scenario,” Hanzman claimed in the course of the listening to, which was held on a Zoom simply call. “It does not bear on any of the problems that are becoming litigated. It is at greatest suitable to collateral, inconsequential arguments. The Court further finds that even if this proof were being marginally relevant, any probative benefit it would have would be substantially outweighed by the threat of unfair prejudice, confusion of the jury and distraction.”
The June 9 video hearing furnished a short glimpse into the internecine legal battle that has played out considering the fact that late 2014, when Scurtis submitted the first civil grievance in Florida condition court docket. The lawsuit accuses Rodriguez of breach of fiduciary duty and dissolution of partnership, among numerous claims, and the dispute stems from a genuine estate corporation the two adult males started out in 2003, when Rodriguez was nonetheless married to Cynthia. Before this yr, the complaint was amended to consist of explosive civil theft and racketeering fees, and Scurtis retained new counsel, from the business Roche Cyrulnik Freedman LLP, declared in a January push release.
Rodriguez also additional new lawyers to his authorized team earlier this calendar year, such as Miami-based Benjamin Brodsky and Alaina Fotiu-Wojtowicz, who sign up for Rodriguez’s longtime counsel in this subject, John Lukacs Sr.
Hanzman has set a demo day of August 2, and has set up a no-nonsense tone at any time because he took over the case final calendar year. When the June 9 listening to was barely underway, and soon after the lawyers had determined on their own, Hanzman asked Brodsky if he had anything to further to say with regard to the emergency motion for protective get.
“Judge, I don’t have considerably to add…,” mentioned Brodsky in advance of Hanzman jumped in and explained, “Good! Good!”
When Constantine Economides, a single of Scurtis’ lawyers, then offered context to the plaintiff trying to get the information and proof from MLB, Hanzman listened for a pair minutes prior to interjecting.
“Whether (Rodriguez) made use of steroids or not, how does that bear on that challenge or any difficulty in this case?” Hanzman questioned.
His performance-maximizing drug one-way links aside, Rodriguez has a lot of hurdles in advance of him with this circumstance, not the least of which are the racketeering and civil theft claims. The grievance also involves allegations of property finance loan and insurance fraud. Rodriguez has tried — and has been unsuccessful — in motions to dismiss the situation, and he has also, to this issue at least, resolved in opposition to a settlement.
In accordance to courtroom files filed in the circumstance, Rodriguez was scheduled to be deposed by Scurtis’ counsel on video around a a few-working day time period — June 24 to June 26 — but as opposed to hearings, depositions are not public. The courtroom submitting pertaining to Rodriguez’s scheduled video clip deposition states: “This deposition is becoming taken for the reason of discovery, for use at trial, or for such other reasons as are permitted less than the relevant and governing principles.” The video clip deposition was scheduled to be taken in Miami.
If the scenario carries on toward trial, Rodriguez, 45, could see his ex-spouse acquire the stand. According to court docket paperwork, Cynthia Rodriguez is on a preliminary witness listing for the plaintiff, as is Jeanette Crook, a previous staff of Newport Residence Ventures, the functioning arm of the serious estate organization Alex Rodriguez and Scurtis started. Criminal, in accordance to court docket filings, is the whistleblower for the alleged insurance policy fraud that took position in 2008, the similar 12 months Scurtis statements he was forced out of the enterprise.
In a recent plaintiff’s crisis movement submitted, Scurtis is asking that sanctions be manufactured versus Rodriguez and a further defendant in the scenario, Stuart Zook, for getting “conducted a ‘woefully deficient’ lookup for responsive communications from Defendants Alex Rodriguez’s and Stuart Zook’s phones.”
Even though the two sides get ready for demo, Hanzman has held the scenario on monitor and on rate, and he reiterated at the finish of the June 9 Zoom listening to that there will be no veering off training course.
“This Court is not heading to enable the sideshow get over the circus. This case is heading to be litigated as the genuine estate dispute that it is. I’m not permitting the events to be running down and chasing rabbit holes of all the misconduct and lousy deeds that possibly of (Scurtis or Rodriguez) allegedly did above the tenure of this undertaking,” reported Hanzman. “So, you much better get ready to check out your authentic estate dispute. Anything else? Have a pleasant evening.”