A year ago, Johan Santana was accused of rape. The police investigated, found the accuser’s statements “to be inconsistent with that of other witnesses” and declined to file charges. Back in August, Santana’s accuser filed a civil suit in Florida. Santana is now asking that it be dismissed. Why? Because the accuser filed it anonymously, using a Jane Doe, rather than using her real name.
Those of you who have filed high profile trials involving rape or sexual abuse may be wondering why Santana would be asking this, given how common it is for alleged victims to be given anonymity. But that’s mostly in criminal cases, where the victims are merely witnesses, not parties to the suit. In civil suits, such as this one, the accuser is a party seeking money damages. In such cases, the presumption of our legal system is that it is open to the public, and that anonymity is only granted a party if his or her interest in maintaining their privacy outweighs the public interests invoked by an open legal system.
While this is a matter that continues to be litigated, the burden to remain anonymous in a civil lawsuit is pretty high, and it’s not at all uncommon for courts to require that a Jane Doe plaintiff either sue under her own name or else drop the suit, even in sexual assault and rape cases.
And yeah, I realize this has little to do with baseball, but there are a handful of legal issues in the world that still hold my interest, and this is one of them, so you get my ramblings on it. Wait around a while and I’m sure someone’s option will be picked up.
Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports provides an interesting window into how teams handle a player’s contract after he has died in an accident. It was reported on Sunday that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. He had three guaranteed years at a combined $19.25 million as well as two $12 million club options with a $1 million buyout each for the 2020-21 seasons.
What happens to that money? Well, that depends on the results of a toxicology report, Rosenthal explains. If it is revealed that Ventura was driving under the influence, payment to his estate can be nullified. The Royals may still choose to pay his estate some money as a gesture of good will, but they would be under no obligation to do so. However, if Ventura’s death was accidental and not caused by his driving under the influence, then his contract remains fully guaranteed and the Royals would have to pay it towards his estate. The Royals would be reimbursed by insurance for an as yet unknown portion of that contract.
The results of the toxicology report won’t be known for another three weeks, according to Royals GM Dayton Moore. Dominican Republic authorities said that there was no alcohol found at the scene.
Ventura’s situation is different than that of Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident this past September. Fernandez was not under contract beyond 2016. He was also legally drunk and cocaine was found in his system after the accident. Still, it is unclear whether or not Fernandez was driving the boat. As a result, his estate will receive an accidental death payment of $1.05 million as well as $450,000 through the players’ standard benefits package, Rosenthal points out.
The Associated Press is reporting that the spring training schedule will be shortened by two days starting in 2018. That change comes as part of the new collective bargaining agreement, which was agreed to last month.
Specifically, the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers, and injured players has been changed to 43 days before the start of the regular season, down from 45. For the rest of the players, the reporting date is 38 days before the start of the regular season, down from 40.
The change goes hand-in-hand with allowing teams 187 days, rather than 183, to complete their 162-game regular season schedule.
While just about everyone seems to be in agreement that the spring training exhibition schedule is too long, team owners are likely very hesitant to shorten that part of the spring schedule because it would cost them money. So they’re just allowing players to arrive to camp a couple of days later.