Judge Jeffrey Brown has dismissed Precourt Sports Ventures and MLS’s motion to dismiss the City of Columbus and State of Ohio’s lawsuit to seek a declaratory judgment on the applicability of Ohio Revised Code 9.67, fondly known as the “Modell Law,” exactly 90 days after hearing oral argument.
This dismissal is a reminder that though an agreement for a local ownership group to purchase the rights to operate Columbus Crew SC may be nearly finished, there is still a lawsuit that must be dealt with. Still, it is expected that an agreement to settle this law suit will be part of the eventual deal to keep Crew SC in Columbus.
Though surprising, fans of the Black & Gold should not look at this dismissal as a sign that any current or pending deal to purchase the team is in jeopardy. Judge Brown’s ruling suggests that he has not been kept in the loop regarding any potential settlement, so the timing of this ruling may be the Judge sending a message to both parties to keep him updated.
Apropos of the ruling to stay the proceedings, apparently neither the plaintiffs nor the defendants had notified the court that a settlement was imminent. Hence, the decision to rule now. #MLS #SaveTheCrew #CrewSC pic.twitter.com/he0WKZoD1e— Miki Turner (@turneresq) December 3, 2018
A settlement not-withstanding, this ruling is still a massive success for the Save The Crew movement and the state of Ohio. By dismissing the case, Judge Brown is suggesting that this case would continue should the parties desire. If the case were to continue, MLS would be forced into releasing records, likely under seal, as part of a potentially long and tedious discovery process.
With this ruling, both MLS and PSV can see the writing on the wall for their attempts to avoid significant harm should they not agree to settle this lawsuit. If a deal is not yet done, the parties looking to buy the Crew now have an even bigger advantage with the potential negative ramifications of a discovery and the potential application of the Modell Law on MLS’s business.
Stay tuned here for a full analysis of the decision once it is posted.