CHICAGO, July 18, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In a Complaint filed in the federal district court in Puerto Rico, Tom Axon and his businesses, Cangrejeros de Santurce Baseball Club and Santurce Merchandising LLC, have filed antitrust, civil rights, and tort claims against Liga de Béisbol Profesional de Puerto RicoInc. (the “League”), the operators of the other teams within the League, and Impulse Sports Entertainment Corporation for conspiring with the Mayor of San Juan to remove and exclude Axon and his businesses from competing in the markets for investing in and operating a top tier professional baseball team in Puerto Rico. Before this alleged civil conspiracy came to fruition, the Axon companies had previously operated the Cangrejeros baseball team franchise in the League.
The case challenges an alleged agreement among Defendants, acting in concert with the Mayor of San Juan, to exclude Axon and his companies from competing–by first seizing and then turning over control of the Cangrejeros franchise to Impulse Sports–as a civil conspiracy to suppress competition from Axon and his companies and to deprive them of their property without due process of law . The case seeks declaratory and permanent injunctive relief, including the return of the Cangrejeros franchise to the Axon companies and triple damages for the Plaintiffs.
The Cangrejeros franchise is one of the most historic and storied franchises in the history of baseball in Puerto Ricowith lineups that included Hall of Famers Robert Clement, Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Frank Robinson, Reggie Jackson, Robin Young, and Satchel Paige, among others. As an investor-operator, Axon and his companies worked to restore the franchise’s success and glory in the League by increasing investment and competition. Axon offered to make a $2 million investment for badly needed repairs and renovations in the stadium for the Cangrejeros franchise, but these efforts were opposed by the Defendants, as well as by the Mayor of San Juan.
Rather than work with Axon to achieve the improvements he was seeking–which would benefit fans and players–it is alleged in the Complaint that Defendants agreed to a group boycott of Axon and his companies and took steps to seize his property as the operator-investor in the Cangrejeros franchise.
Axon and his companies are represented in the case by Jeffrey Kessler and the internationally known law firm Winston & Strawn LLP. Mr. Kessler and Winston have been involved in some of the most significant sports litigations in history, including the recent case before the United States Supreme Court, NCAA vs. Alston, in which the college player classes represented by Winston prevailed in antitrust claims against the compensation restrictions of the NCAA. Mr. Kessler and Winston also recently represented the world champion women soccer players on the United States Women’s National Team in their successful fight for equal pay with the Men’s National Team. Mr. Kessler has also successfully asserted antitrust claims against the National Football League and the National Basketball Association to obtain the creation of free agency rights for players.
Tom Axon stated today, “I am bringing this litigation because of my passion for Puerto Rican baseball and my desire to restore the Cangrejeros franchise and all of Puerto Rican baseball to its former glory, for the benefit of players, fans, and the entire community. No sports business is above the law.”
Axon and his businesses are also being represented in the lawsuit by the prominent Puerto Rico law firms of Goldman Antonetti & Cordova and Monserrate, Simonet & Gierbolini, LLC.
Founded over 60 years ago, Goldman Antonetti is a law firm with a diversified practice, serving Puerto Rico, United Statesand international clients involved in business transactions and litigation at every forum with jurisdiction over matters in Puerto Rico. Please visit his profile at www.gaclaw.com.
Monserrate, Simonet & Gierbolini, LLC is a boutique law firm based in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico with decades of experience litigating at all levels, both in Puerto Rico and nationwide. For more information, please visit www.msglawpr.com.
Winston & Strawn LLP is an international law firm with 16 offices in North America, South America, Asiaand Europe. More information about the firm is available at www.winston.com.
SOURCE Winston & Strawn LLP