MLB Cheating Scandal Spawns Fantasy Sports Class Action: Melanie Conroy Quoted in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

Excerpted from the January 30, 2020 issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly

In Olson v. Major League Baseball, a case filed recently in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, the lead plaintiff alleges that the league “actively” induced fans to participate in fantasy baseball wagers while teams “secretly engaged in corrupt and fraudulent conduct … that produced player statistics distorted by cheating.” According to the suit, millions of fans wagered on the performance of MLB players through DraftKings, a sports betting provider that is MLB’s official daily fantasy game, and in which holds an equity stake.

The suit proposes that the class is comprised of all who participated in DraftKings’ MLB daily fantasy sports contests between 4/2/17-10/30/19. Pierce Atwood class action defense attorney Melanie Conroy noted that “plaintiffs may have difficulty showing they suffered injury both for purposes of standing for class certification as well as on the merits of their consumer protection claims.”

She went on to say, “It isn’t immediately clear exactly how every class member has been injured in a concrete way, much less how the plaintiff will go about proving the exact dollar amount of losses that would be claimed by each class member from the same alleged harms.”

Melanie also noted that the plaintiff did not name DraftKings as a defendant, possibly as a “strategic move” based on a recent district court decision stating that fantasy sports players are bound by DraftKings’ arbitration agreement. She noted that she expects the defendants in the New York class action to still argue that those plaintiffs can be compelled to arbitrate their claims based on the DraftKings user agreement.

The complete article can be found in the January 30, 2020 issue of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.