Alex Rodriguez wants his lawsuit against Major League Baseball and commissioner Bud Selig sent back to state court, and the sport said it will move to dismiss the case.
A day after an initial conference in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, the feuding sides filed paperwork Friday explaining their intended motions.
MLB says the case should be heard in federal court because of provisions of the Labor Management Relations Act, known as Taft-Hartley. Rodriguez's lawyers said that "contradicts the positions MLB repeatedly took before the Florida state court in the lawsuit it filed against Biogenesis of America" and accuses the sport of taking "a 180-degree turn."
Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games by MLB in August for alleged violations of the sport's drug agreement and labour contract. The New York Yankees third baseman was allowed to keep playing until arbitrator Fredric Horowitz decides a grievance filed by the players' union to overturn the penalty.
"Defendants have engaged in a systematic effort to destroy Mr. Rodriguez's reputation, including by continually leaking false stories to the media about Mr. Rodriguez," Rodriguez's lawyers said, repeating allegations they have made several times.
MLB's papers said Rodriguez's "outrageous and ill-founded allegations are utterly without merit [and] neither this court nor the state court can or should adjudicate those claims on the merits."
MLB said the matter should be litigated under the arbitration procedure outlined in baseball's labour contract because they involve interpretations of that agreement. It said the Biogenesis lawsuit was distinct because the defendants in that lawsuit are not parties to baseball's collective bargaining agreement.
A hearing before U.S. District Judge Lorna G. Schofield is scheduled for Jan. 23.