A season ticket holder filed a class action lawsuit on Friday against the Houston Astros for placing a deficient product on the field after violating league “sign stealing” rules.
The lawsuit comes after a multi-year sign-stealing scheme called “Codebreaker” was revealed last month. The scheme started in 2017 and continued throughout the 2019 season, in which the Houston Astros won the World Series. They beat the Los Angeles Dodgers in a seven-game series. Sign stealing is when one team learns the signs used by a pitcher to communicate with a pitcher about which pitch to throw. In this case, the Astros had positioned a camera in centerfield to steal the signs and would communicate the upcoming pitch to the batter by banging on trash cans in the dugout.
The plaintiff is seeking damages and injunctive relief from the Houston Astros organization. The plaintiff claims he, and others like him, “suffered (and will continue to suffer) actual, consequential, and/or compensatory damages in the form of, inter alia, overpayments for 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020 season tickets, the diminished value of their personal seat licenses, and a future diminished product in the field – for which they are entitled to compensation.” The plaintiff is seeking a refund for tickets purchased in these years and an injunction stopping the organization from raising prices for the 2021 and 2022 seasons.
At a time when the Houston Astros are facing consequences from Major League Baseball and their fans, this places another battle on their hands. This suit places interesting legal questions before the Harris County District Court. It will be interesting to see how this case progresses, and how, if given the opportunity, the court deals with a deficient product suit when the defendant intentionally violated the rules governing the game of baseball.