* Mediator has been working since July 5
* Dodgers seek evidence of MLB dealings with other teams
* Judge seeks limited discovery to prevent "sideshow"
By Tom Hals
Oct 3 A retired federal judge was appointed
mediator on Monday to try to settle the battle for control of
the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers that has pitted Major League
Baseball against team owner Frank McCourt.
Joseph Farnan, who retired as a Delaware District Court
judge last year, was appointed retroactive to July 5, when he
began working as a mediator in the case, according to an order
from Delaware's bankruptcy court on Monday.
Farnan's role was not previously disclosed.
The former judge is charged with trying to bring the
league's commissioner Bud Selig and the Dodgers to a
settlement, although no time frame was given.
The team declined to comment on the appointment of the
mediator. The league and Farnan did not immediately respond to
calls for comment.
The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy in June after the league
rejected the team's proposed sale of rights to broadcast the
The team wants to again sell those media rights during its
bankruptcy, while the league has said it will continue to
reject any such sale and wants to force McCourt out as the
The team plans to ask the judge to overrule the league's
objection to a media rights sale on the grounds that Selig is
essentially discriminating against the Dodgers.
Delaware bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross has set aside four
days of hearings beginning later this month and called on Selig
and McCourt to come answer questions about league rules and the
sale of the television rights.
Gross also said the Dodgers will not be able to take
discovery into other baseball teams to prevent the hearings
becoming "a sideshow of all of MLB."
That decision limiting discovery could "unfairly impair
(the Dodgers') ability to prove that the commissioner has not
acted in good faith," the team said in court documents filed on
Some observers have said the Dodgers could gain leverage in
the bankruptcy with the threat of airing other teams' financial
The Dodgers said on Monday it was critical that they be
able to collect evidence on the league's dealings with other
"This will allow the court to determine whether the
commissioner is using a different strike zone for the Los
Angeles Dodgers than for other teams," the Dodgers said in a
Gross' ruling on Friday also contained a warning to
McCourt. The judge said he would strongly consider appointing a
trustee to handle the team's bankruptcy if it is determined
that the bankruptcy case was brought as a strategy to benefit
McCourt, as the league has said.
The case is In re: Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy
Court, District of Delaware, No. 11-12010.
(Reporting by Tom Hals, editing by Matthew Lewis)