Rose’s Suit Goes to Federal Court : Action a Setback in Attempt to Stop Ruling by Commissioner

From Associated Press

Pete Rose suffered a major setback today in his efforts to clear his name of gambling allegations when a federal judge decided that his lawsuit against baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti belongs in federal court.

U.S. District Judge John D. Holschuh refused to return Rose’s case to Hamilton County Common Pleas Court where Rose had won an order preventing Giamatti from deciding whether the Cincinnati Reds manager bet on baseball.

Baseball wanted the case heard in federal court where judges have upheld the commissioner’s broad powers in previous legal challenges. Rose asked that the matter be kept in the county court where Judge Norbert A. Nadel has shown a willingness to go into what he termed “uncharted waters” in making his decisions.

Holschuh’s decision takes the case away from Nadel and out of Rose’s hometown of Cincinnati.


Nadel has already agreed with Rose that Giamatti has prejudged him as guilty. Nadel had also issued a temporary restraining order preventing Giamatti from holding a hearing on allegations that Rose bet on his team, an offense that could get him banned from baseball for life. Baseball agreed that while appealing the case, it would not take any action against the Reds manager.

Holschuh also extended until Aug. 14 Rose’s protection against firing or suspension over the gambling allegations.

Holschuh’s decision may be appealed to the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. Unless the appeals court intervenes, Holschuh will hold a hearing Aug. 14 for a preliminary injunction that could extend Rose’s protections indefinitely.

In his 47-page decision, Holschuh concluded that the Reds “are at best nominal parties in this controversy,” with the real dispute being between Giamatti and Rose.


A dispute between residents of different states is heard in federal court. If Holschuh had found that the dispute was between Rose and the Reds, he would have had to send the case back to Ohio courts.

Holschuh certified the case for an immediate appeal, which is expected from Rose’s lawyers.

“It’s certainly a victory that puts the case in the right court,” said Louis L. Hoynes Jr., baseball’s primary lawyer. “One hopes that we can dispose of the case now.”

Nadel was criticized by some legal scholars for his unprecedented decision, which prevented the commissioner from doing anything with Rose’s case.


Baseball’s lawyers accused Rose of balking at having his case decided in any court “other than one which is most subject to the influence of local pressures produced by his fame, notoriety and close identification with the city of Cincinnati.”

Rose’s lawyers accused baseball of trying to get a more favorable court by going to a federal judge.