The Alex Rodriguez Legal-Morass Flowchart

Another day, another wrinkle in the Alex Rodriguez-Biogenesis-MLB-Yankees-Hip-Injury Saga. Some days, there are multiple wrinkles. It’s not easy to keep it all straight.

The main event, of course, is Rodriguez’s appeal of his 211-game suspension. MLB handed down that suspension on August 5. Rodriguez appealed the suspension two days later, and the matter is now pending before baseball’s arbitrator, Fredric Horowitz. Rodriguez may continue to play while the appeal is pending. No hearing date has been set. MLB is pressing for a hearing by the end of August; Rodriguez and the Major League Baseball Players’ Association — which is supporting A-Rod’s appeal — seem less interested in a quick resolution.

Five days after MLB suspended Rodriguez, the Yankees notified their $275 million third baseman that he would be disciplined for seeking a second medical opinion on an injury without permission. The nature of the discipline hasn’t been disclosed. You can be sure A-Rod will file a grievance.

You may recall that just before MLB handed down its PED-related suspension, Rodriguez asked Dr. Michael Gross to look at his recent MRI. Gross then appeared on New York sports radio station WFAN and said the the MRI didn’t show an injury sufficient to keep Rodriguez off the field. But the Gross interview on WFAN — and the Yankees subsequent decision to discipline Rodriguez for having Gross look a the MRI — was just an opening act in what looks to be a drama production that will last longer than the Shakespeare Company’s production of The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby.

Last week, Rodriguez added a new lawyer to his team, and Joseph Tacopina wasted no time in going on the offensive against the Yankees and MLB. In an interview with the New York Times, Tacopina accused the Yankees of playing A-Rod in last year’s postseason while withholding information about the extent of his hip injury. Tacopina also claimed that the Yankees were in cahoots with MLB to run A-Rod out of baseball, so the team could get out from underneath the $86 million it still owes A-Rod after this season. According to Tacopina, Yankees President Randy Levine told Dr. Bryan Kelly — a prominent orthopedic surgeon was to operate on A-Rod’s hip — that he never wanted to see A-Rod on a baseball field again. Levine called all these allegations “specious and completely false.” MLB Vice President Rob Manfred called collusion allegation a “red herring.”

Michael McCann, director of the Sports and Entertainment Law Institute and a legal analyst for Sports Illustrated, reflected on these attacks and counterattacks and suspects A-Rod and his lawyers are laying the groundwork for a broad legal attack to be launched as part of A-Rod’s appeal from the suspension, or in a separate grievance to the arbitrator, or directly in court. McCann theorized that A-Rod’s lawyers were prepared to charge the Yankees with fraud in the handling of his hip injury, and against the Yankees and MLB for defamation (in charging him with using PEDs) and with collusion (to push him out of the game).

No sooner than McCann’s column hit the interwebs yesterday, ESPN reported that Rodriguez was preparing to sue the Yankees and team doctor Chris Ahmad for malpractice in diagnosing and treating his hip injury. To date, no lawsuit has yet been filed. But as Howard Megdal wrote this morning for Capital New York, the malpractice suit — if it’s filed — could be the biggest development in this saga:

A lawsuit, and one that involves the Yankees, would open both sides up to discovery. If Rodriguez’s camp successfully involves M.L.B. in their case, it could do the same to M.L.B., which has a history of trying to avoid such things by settling cases. It allows the three-headed battle between Rodriguez, the Yankees and M.L.B. to get exponentially uglier, with all sides appearing to have ample money to fight and enough acrimony to see it through. This is a far less controlled environment. This is where the action ultimately may be.

You know who else may see some action? Yankees general manager Brian Cashman. Yesterday afternoon, Louise Meanwell (yes, that’s her name), filed a motion in New York state court in Manhattan, charging that Joseph Tacopina — A-Rod’s new lawyer — has a conflict of interest. Meanwell purportedly had an affair with Cashman and was then charged with stalking the GM. She claims a conflict because divulged secrets she learned from Cashman to Tacopina’s law partner Stephen Turano.

Meanwell says she paid Turano $10,000 and gave him “intimate details” of her relationship with Cashman and their conversations, and claimed the GM told her he knew about Yankee players’ steroid use but had a “win at any cost attitude” and was “ambivalent’’ to drug use “so long as nothing came back to the Yankee organization.” Her lawyer, Peter Gleason, said Meanwell, as Cashman’s former lover, could be called to the stand in the A-Rod case.

Tacopina denied the allegations and called Meanwell’s motion “the most ridiculous” he’s ever seen. The Alex Rodriguez-Biogenesis-MLB-Yankees-Hip-Injury Saga sure is crazy, and is likely to get much, much crazier before it’s over. To help you keep track of where things currently stand, I created the Alex Rodriguez Legal-Morass Flowchart. Decisions that have been made and claims that have been filed are noted in rectangles. Potential claims, grievances and lawsuits are shown in ovals. A-Rod Legal-Morass Flow Chart (1)

Don’t get too attached to this flowchart, though. It’s likely to change in a day or two.




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Wendy is also a contributing writer for Sports on Earth. Her writing has appeared on ESPN.com, Baseball Nation, Bay Area Sports Guy, The Score, The Classical and San Francisco Magazine. Wendy practiced law for 18 years before beginning her writing career. You can find her work at wendythurm.pressfolios.com and follow her on Twitter @hangingsliders.

55 Responses to “The Alex Rodriguez Legal-Morass Flowchart”

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  1. TKDC says:

    The Meanwell/Cashman part is hilarious, but a ruling that there is an actual conflict seems to be quite a far-fetched possibility.

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  2. Anon21 says:

    What standing does Ms. Meanwell purport to have to seek disqualification of Tacopina? What’s her cause of action? I could see maybe filing a complaint with the state bar association—in my experience, they tend to have pretty lax rules about who can initiate a complaint—but I’m baffled as to what she thinks she’s doing in court.

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    • anon22 says:

      If you read more about this, it looks like A-Rods firm also represent her..Imagine what she has shared with them about Crashman. If you actually look at the conflict rules and regulations of NYS, she may actually be correct with her legal filing.

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      • Anon21 says:

        Still would be surprised if her remedy was some unspecified cause of action in state court. Why didn’t she file a complaint with the bar association?

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        • anon23 says:

          She is correct with her legal filing. Apart from personal conflicts of interest, which this is not, a conflict of interest that one attorney has is imputed to every member of the firm. This is a clear conflict of interest. He should be disqualified.

          In terms of reporting this to the Committee on Character and Fitness (New York has no mandatory “bar association”), this doesn’t rise to that level. Not even close.

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        • Anon21 says:

          Okay, you’re just reiterating the merits. What’s her cause of action?

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        • Wendy Thurm says:

          She has the right to file a motion to disqualify Tacopina based on the alleged conflict of interest. I assume that’s what she’s done.

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  3. Caveman Jones says:

    Great breakdown Wendy, thanks. This is getting more complicated than I had ever thought possible.

    One question: has anyone baseball player ever sued a team and team doctor for malpractice before?

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  4. GilaMonster says:

    The question exists : How much money does A-Rod want to spend?
    I imagine he wants to save the $40 million from the suspension, but legal battles with MLB and the Yankees will costs tens of millions of dollars on top of that.

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    • Franco says:

      The beauty of having FU money.

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      • Preston says:

        Exactly, A-Rod could stick that 40 million into a trust and pay his legal team on the ~5% payout and just drag out the proceedings for the next ten years. Even at top rates, Tacopina charges $750 per hour, 2 million bucks gets you 2,666 billable hours (most lawyers bill less than 2,000 per year to all of their clients) and that’s not considering that hours billed to associates and paralegals would cost much less. A-Rod can literally keep his legal team employed indefinitely without it costing him a cent. It’s good to have FU money.

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    • pft says:

      He has a net worth which is approaching 400 million, the money is not a problem. He might actually walk away with more than what he is owed if he wins his battles.

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  5. Gleb Bakouline says:

    Fail-rod.
    Do yourself a favor and retire and disappear pleasekthnxbye Alex.

    -12 Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Hurtlocker says:

    Why is it not a breach of contract to cheat your way through performance of said contract? This mis-direction lawyer speak is getting old.

    -15 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • John says:

      How did A-Rod’s alleged cheating hurt the Yankees? The allegation is that he cheated to improve his performance, which in turn helps the Yankees. If there was a specific provision in his contract he broke or failed to perform, then he would be in breach. And let’s be honest, if A-Rod were still his old self, the Yankees would have no interest in seeing him off the field, regardless of what he put in his body to get there.

      +10 Vote -1 Vote +1

      • waynetolleson says:

        “How did A-Rod’s alleged cheating hurt the Yankees?”

        1.) Can we stop calling it “alleged?” The guy has cheated HIS ENTIRE CAREER.

        2.) A-Rod hurt the Yankees by negotiating in bad faith. When he opted out, A-Rod already knew he was a steroid cheat. He’d already tested positive in 2003.

        Yet, despite this knowledge, A-Rod insisted that he would be re-writing the record book, and cleaning it up.

        A-Rod’s primary negotiation tactic was that he would be the “clean HR champ.”

        Yes, I know that’s weird now, but that was A-Rod’s leverage in the negotiation.

        We now know A-Rod had already been using steroids for years, which means any record he sets means absolutely nothing.

        Then, look at his response. Why is A-Rod in trouble? A-Rod isn’t in trouble because of the Yankees. That’s misdirection. A-Rod is in trouble because A-Rod IS A CHEATER. He’s in trouble because he used steroids for over a decade, and lied about it repeatedly to MLB officials.

        -5 Vote -1 Vote +1

        • Richie says:

          Y’know, he’s right on that “clean HR champ” thing. That was part of Boras’ marketing of ARod.

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        • Iron says:

          If the Yankees agree to vacate all wins and championships they had with ARod on the team, I will agree to have sympathy for them trying to weasel out of the contract. They took the good of ARod’s steroid use with smiles and cheers, well aware of what was going on. To now act all surprised and try to weasel away… put it this way: I like steroid cheats far less than most of the writers on this site, but ARod still looks a step up from the Cashman/Steinbrunners here.

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        • TKDC says:

          @Iron,

          I agree, it has become hip to like steroid cheats for some reason, I think it is largely MLB/Selig/traditional sports writers say one thing, I must say the other, but having sympathy for the Yankees is crazy.

          Also, the consequences of steroid use are part of the CBA. I don’t even think a player could put language in a contract voiding it for steroid use. That is what the suspension table is for. People who want A-rod to suffer more because he makes a lot of money or because his contract is an albatross or because he’s a d-bag are generally an unprincipled crowd, not what you normally get from FG readers, but some of this stuff is making people a bit crazy.

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    • Stringer Bell says:

      Sigh, hearing this is getting tiring.

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      • Scraps says:

        This is getting entertaining, IMO.

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        • Baltar says:

          Agreed. A laugh riot.
          As much as I detest $750 an hour lawyers, I love seeing them taking money from A-Rod, the Yankees and MLB.

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        • waynetolleson says:

          “As much as I detest $750 an hour lawyers, I love seeing them taking money from A-Rod, the Yankees and MLB.”

          Except look at ticket prices now. The cost is passed on to the fans!

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        • Richie says:

          Nah, not all that much, really. The Yankees have long charged whatever they thought the market would bear.

          Might cost them a player here or there, if it actually does get expensive enough.

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        • David says:

          but now guys like me can afford to go to Yankee games.

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        • Antonio Bananas says:

          “The cost is passed on to the fans” oh, so if something costs me more as a businessman so I just increase price to cover it? Gotcha. Except that’s not really how it works. They don’t just pick a profit number and charge that and fans buy. They try to milk every dollar out of every fan. Whether the players get paid 1M or 10M, tickets and everything else would remain where the are because it’s tied to our demand.

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    • Preston says:

      The terms of the employment contract concerning performance enhancers are clearly outlined in the collective bargaining agreement. So it clearly isn’t considered a substantive breach. We breach contracts all the time, that doesn’t necessarily make it void. Contracts with creditors have policies on late payments, contracts with employers outline how many times you can be late, MLB contracts outline how often you can get caught taking steroids.

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      • Hurtlocker says:

        Thanks for the explanation to my QUESTION.

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        • Scraps says:

          Your QUESTION was really an ASSERTION. If you meant your QUESTION to be read as a QUESTION, you wouldn’t have included the second sentence which was an ANSWER to your QUESTION.

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  7. Hank says:

    a quote from the flow chart:
    “Brian Cashman’s Mistress Files Motion to Dismiss Joe Tacopino From Representing A-Rod”
    that is a beautiful, beautiful sentence. thanks wendy! please keep issuing updates; it helps to have someone presenting all the information in such an easy format.

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  8. wobatus says:

    Joe Tacopina is a hack. This whole story just keeps getting better.

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  9. Ryan I says:

    I literally thought the mistress part was a joke until I looked it up. This story gets better and better by the day. My question is this….if Cashman’s ex-mistress hates him (a safe assumption considering she has been extorting him) wouldn’t she be on A-fraud’s side? Not sure of her motivation in trying to mess with rodriguez’s legal team, unless her only motivation is to stay in the papers

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  10. pft says:

    Have to be honest, I did not even know Arod was suing the Yankees and MLB for collusion, defamation, etc

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  11. wrinklebump says:

    It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy or organization

    +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

  12. harpago17 says:

    Must be sweeps week. Even though “The A-Rod Situation” has gotten great ratings this season, there is still no word from the network on whether or not they’ll be picking up another full season order. Stay tuned.

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  13. DNA+ says:

    As obnoxious as Arod is, it does seem MLB and the Yankees are treating Arod much different than all the other players caught using PED, and the reason is clearly personal. If I were Arod I would fight back too.

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    • Preston says:

      I don’t get why this is so personal to Selig? Braun failed a drug test and then publicly embarrassed the MLB drug testing program by making it look like a couple of geeky 12 year olds in their mother’s basement. Then he made up a story of his involvement with Boesch and still pleaded out to 65 games. I guess the buying documents thing is worse, and he’ll get harsher treatment because he didn’t accept a plea, but Alex never failed a drug test while penalties were in place, so counting that against him is uncomfortably ex post facto, and he hasn’t lied anymore than any of these other guys (I’m talking to you Melky with your fake web site). I would be surprised if the arbitor doesn’t knock it down to more of a 100 game suspension. Which means tune in this time next year for the Alex Rodriguez show.

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      • DNA+ says:

        I don’t understand why an arbiter wouldn’t knock it down to 50 games, which is the penalty for a first time offender (and what was given to Melky Cabrera, despite the fake website).

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        • TKDC says:

          The promoting to others part, which I think is supposed to carry 80-100 games. My guess is he gets 80 for that, and 50 for using himself, for a total of 130. I could honestly see A-rod’s team going to MLB some time in the next few weeks and settling this. Yes, it is an emotional issue, perhaps for both sides, but there is a ton to lose for both sides. If A-rod can secure that he’ll be back by around mid-season next year, I think he takes that.

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        • Preston says:

          I think there is zero chance of a settlement. First off, A-Rod is playing and playing well right now. Two weeks ago the Yankees looked like they were going to slip under .500, now it isn’t unreasonable to see them making a legitimate push to the 2nd WC, A-Rod is and wants to be a big part of that. Second he thinks he can win, and like most guys with big egos he’s surrounded himself with Yes men who also think they can win. For most other players taking the suspension made sense. They were some combination of injured, out of contention, preparing for FA and not wanting a looming suspension to hurt their value. A-Rod is finally healthy, looking better than he has in a long time, and sort of in contention. And the outlook for him (a year older) and the Yankees (also a year older, key FAs in Kuroda and Cano might leave) isn’t so good.

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        • TKDC says:

          Sure, if there is a decent chance of making the playoffs, I could see him sticking it out. Coolstandings has them at 11% right now. I honestly thought they were a little more cooked than that.

          Your second point ignores the job of his lawyer, which assuming he is competent, is to make Arod realize what is actually in his best interest and steer him towards that. Pretty much every client goes into a dispute pissed off and not in the mood to settle, but guess what? Most do.

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    • MrMan says:

      This.

      I have zero positive feelings for Aroid, the Yankeees or Bud Selig. But it’s hard not to be on Arod’s side in this no-holds-barred death-match of pigs. THe motivations here for the Yanks and MLB are truly detestable.

      I’m pretty sure they all lose in the long run…some will just lose more than the others.

      Couldn’t happen to a more deserving group.

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  14. davef says:

    As well as the business of baseball has done under Selig, his legacy will be attached to steroids and its presence in the game. Selig missed out on his chance to nail Bonds, but if he can crush ARod, his legacy in retirement will be “record revenue generator and steroid abolisher.” Without ARod’s pelt, he’ll be “Overseer of the Steroid Era”. For Selig, the current means for getting information on ARod and Braun justify the ends of the former legacy. For him.

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    • MrMan says:

      I don’t see Bud’s legacy being burnished by his zealous prosecution of Arod. Selig’s actions will never overshadow his willful ignorance of steroids, his hand in cancelling the World Series, his hand in collusion (costing the league hundreds of millions).

      In the long run I think Bud will be seen for the ineffectual, bumbling, ham-fisted, self-serving, small-minded, petty dim-wit he is.

      MLB, business-wise, has survived and thrived despite long-held “leadership” by a bunch of crooks and charlatans. Bud fits right into that legacy.

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      • davef says:

        The strike (and WS cancellation) was a product of a labor disagreement based on the CBA of his predecessor. Since then, baseball has far surpassed its major sport peers from a labor relations standpoint. When was the last time there was even a threat of strike/lockout?

        To have the amount of success he’s had in business despite being as “ineffectual, bumbling, ham-fisted, self-serving,[and] small-minded” as you say, leads me to believe your scope is pretty narrow.

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        • MrMan says:

          Considering MLB’s long-sustained ability generate ever more revenues regardless of pretty much anything (strikes, team movement, free agency, skyrocketing salaries, punative ticket policies, municipal extortion, player scandals, PEDs, etcl) I don’t give Bud any credit whatsoever for the league’s “success” as you call it. I’m convinced you, I or just about anyone could sit in his chair and the league would be at least as successful, very possibly more successful.

          Being successful as a “businessman” has no correlation to one’s success as either a team owner or a league commissioner. They are separate and distict activities requiring different skills sets.

          Bud played a HUGE role in both the ’94 strike and the ’87 collusion action. Fay Fincent specificall cited Selig and Jerry Reinsdork as the primary insigators behind the collusion and the reason for the union’s distrust of the league.

          It is not a stretch at all to say Selig’s “business” acumen cost the league’s owners hundreds of millions…if not billions…of dollars.

          Add the head-in-the-sand approach to the obvious-to-anyone-with-a-brain PED scandal, the All-Star fiascos, the slowness to adopt technology….there’s absolutely nothing about Selig’s tenure that makes me associate the word “success” with him.

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    • Erik says:

      I don’t think Selig see’s it as much about his legacy as about saving one of the owners an extra $40 or so million dollars.

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  15. Ian R. says:

    So, the rectangles represent things that have happened, and the ovals represent things that may happen. Got it.

    Why is Fredric Horowitz a hexagon?

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  16. mario mendoza says:

    I’m confused regarding the hip injury claims.

    First he got a 2nd opinion to say that his hip wasn’t injured when the Yankees said it was, and then filed a malpractice suit claiming that the Yankees (in cahoots with MLB) misdiagnosed him because they wanted him to play through an injury and look washed up. Which is it? Was the hip injury underplayed or overplayed by the Yankees?

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