The New
Court of Appeals has agreed to hear the long-running dispute between the
Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals over television rights fees.

The court,
the highest in the state, on September 2 granted the Orioles’ motion for
permission to appeal.

MASN was
established in March 2005 after the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington and
became the Nationals, moving into what had been Baltimore’s exclusive broadcast
territory since 1972. The Orioles have a controlling interest in the network.

MASN paid
the Nationals for 2012-16 what the Orioles proposed: $197.5 million. Washington
argued it should be paid $475 million.

arbitration panel of baseball executives — Pittsburgh Pirates President Frank
Coonelly, Tampa Bay Rays principal owner Stuart Sternberg and New York Mets
chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon — heard the case in 2012 and ruled in 2014
that the Nationals were owed $298.1 million.

The Orioles
appealed, and that decision was thrown out by a New York Supreme Court justice,
who ruled a law firm representing the Nationals was conflicted because it had
worked for clubs of executives on the panel. The appellate division sent the
case back to baseball to be heard by a reconstituted Revenue Sharing
Definitions Committee.

A second
panel of baseball executives — Milwaukee Brewers chairman Mark Attanasio,
Seattle Mariners President Kevin Mather and Toronto Blue Jays President Mark
Shapiro — ordered a slightly lower payment of $296.8 million. That decision
confirmed in August 2019 by New York Supreme Court Justice Joel M. Cohen.

The Appellate
Division of the Supreme Court for the First Department unanimously affirmed
Cohen’s decison last October, ruling the Orioles failed to establish evident
partiality in the second arbitration panel. The First Department’s decision was
by Justices Dianne T Renwick, Cynthia S Kern, Saliann Scarpulla,Co and Martin

Court of Appeals’ decision to hear the Orioles’ and MASN’s appeal recognizes
that this dispute implicates the key legal protections afforded to arbitral
parties,” Jonathan Schiller, a lawyer for the Orioles and MASN, said in a
statement Tuesday. “The Orioles and MASN look forward to presenting their
case to the Court of Appeals, and to finally having this dispute decided before
a fair, objective, neutral arbitral body, as the law requires.”

Neuwirth, a lawyer for the Nationals, did not respond to an email seeking

Chief Judge
Janet DiFiore and Judge Michael J Garcia did not take part in the Court of
Appeals decision to allow an appeal.