By Jonathan stamp | Reuters
NEW YORK – Next month’s annual all-star game of baseball will stay in Denver after a federal judge Thursday denied a request by a conservative small business group to return it to Atlanta.
At a hearing in federal court in Manhattan, U.S. District Judge Valerie Caproni said Job Creators Network had no legal authority to contest Major League Baseball’s decision to postpone the game or to show that it had suffered irreparable damage.
MLB moved the July 13 game from Truist Park outside of Atlanta to Denver’s Coors Field in early April, shortly after Georgia passed a restrictive new electoral law.
Caproni said MLB’s decision did not single out small businesses, including plaintiff’s estimated 3,600 members in the Atlanta area, for unfair treatment.
“To say the legal basis of this lawsuit is weak and confused is an understatement,” said Caproni.
“Big and small were treated in the decision; Black and white; Latinx and Asian; Protestants, Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and atheists; male and female; straight, gay and transsexual; Democratic and Republican business owners are exactly alike, ”she said.
Notwithstanding the plaintiff’s “strong interest” in where the game was being played, “it is not at all clear why small businesses in Atlanta are more concerned with small businesses in Denver,” she added.
Georgia’s law was signed by Republican Governor Brian Kemp after it was approved by the Republican-controlled legislature.
It added identification requirements for postal ballot papers and limited mailboxes, and made it an administrative offense to give water and food to people who stood to vote.
Howard Kleinhendler, the plaintiff’s attorney, had said the MLB’s opposition to the law was no reason to punish small businesses and others in Georgia.
“You can’t say yes to Colorado and no to Georgia because we don’t like your vote,” he said.
MLB said the All-Star game’s move allowed it to demonstrate its values and serve the public interest.
Job Creators Network is also seeking $ 100 million in damages plus $ 1 billion in punitive damages.
Its founders include Bernie Marcus, a retired co-founder of Atlanta-based Home Depot Inc.