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Real Judges for Fantasy Sports Cases

On first glance, the decision of the court sounds eminently authoritative: "This dispute involves whether the Commissioner of the Hampshire Baseball League was within his rights to allow one of its teams, the Cedarburg Tigers, to submit a late bid for free agent second baseman Emilio Bonifacio," Chief Justice Marc Edelman begins. "Based upon a review of the facts, this court rules that it was not proper for the Commissioner to extend the bidding period beyond the stated 24-hour period. Therefore, the court orders the rights to Emilio Bonifacio to revert to the Philadelphia Freedoms -- the team that had submitted the highest bid at the time the player auction officially expired."

But wait? Does Emilio Bonifacio no longer play for the Florida Marlins? Where in the world is this Hampshire Baseball League? And who the heck are the Cedarburg Tigers? Welcome to the world of fantasy baseball -- a world that, despite its make-believe nature, apparently has very real disputes. And where there are disputes, there are lawyers. And where there are lawyers, there are judges. Thus the very real "fantasy dispute resolution" service,

SportsJudge is the not-so-idle fantasy of its self-appointed chief justice, Marc Edelman, a visiting assistant professor at Rutgers School of Law in Camden, N.J., and former associate at Skadden Arps and Dewey Ballantine. Edelman describes himself as a "pioneer in the field of fantasy sports dispute resolution" who has played fantasy sports for some two decades.

SportsJudge "brings the principles of dispute resolution into the realm of fantasy sports." Having a fantasy league dispute with another owner? SportsJudge will resolve it within 48 hours for just $15. For fantasy owners prone to a history of disputes, SportsJudge offers a seasonal, 10-dispute package for $100. The site also sells a "certified" fantasy league constitution for $50 and will even manage a fantasy owner's live draft.

Apparently, SportsJudge is not the only dispute resolution service serving fantasy sports. But it is the only one where disputes are decided by lawyers "who've worked in litigation at major firms and are professors at major law schools," Edelman tells David Frank at Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

The reason my site is so popular with the intellectual segment of our population that has some background in the law is that, unlike every other site that has since popped up, we use actual legal principles to create results, and we have that precedent bank that ensures each result is the same time after time.

Noting that more than 5 million people a year play fantasy baseball, Frank writes that Edelman may be onto something. Still, when Frank mentioned SportsJudge to his lawyer-wife, her response was somewhat different: "It's kind of pathetic." Maybe so, but not if you're the commissioner of the Hampshire Baseball League.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on April 28, 2009 at 11:39 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)


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