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Lawsuit blames law firm for contract that led to baseball league's collapse

(MCT) — The Northern League of Professional Baseball Teams claims a faulty contract drafted by a Chicago law firm allowed half of the non-profit’s teams to join a rival league, forcing the Northern League to suspend operations.

The firm of Gozdecki, Del Giudice, Americus and Farkas LLP was instructed to write a contract that required member teams to pay $1 million each if they left voluntarily, but the contract instead only required the fee if the member teams were expelled from the league, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday in Cook County Circuit Court.

As teams faced financial difficulties in 2010, the American Association offered all eight member teams of the Northern League the chance to join its baseball league, effectively disbanding the Northern League, according to the lawsuit.

The vote came to a tie, with four of the teams in favor of the proposal while the rest were not, the lawsuit says.

Northern League officials discovered that its contracts with member teams did not include the enforceable departure fee they thought it did in September 2010, after the four teams that voted in favor of the proposal notified the league that they were leaving to join the American Association league, according to the lawsuit.

With only four member teams remaining, the Northern League suspended its 2011 season, the lawsuit says.

Rick Del Giudice, a managing partner for the law firm, said the lawsuit’s claims have no merit.

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