Major League Baseball (MLB) player Alex Rodriguez sued MLB and his own union in federal court, seeking to have his 162-game suspension for using performance-enhancing substances overturned. Rodriguez apparently recognized his lawsuit had virtually no chance of success as he withdrew his suit less than a month after it was filed.
Federal law favors arbitration of disputes between management and labor. In theory (though not always in practice), arbitration is faster, cheaper, and less formal than litigation in the court system. Arbitration’s efficiency stems, in part, from the fact that the loser in arbitration has virtually no right to appeal.
The Federal Arbitration Act provides four grounds upon which a court can overturn an arbitrator's decision: corruption, evident partiality by the arbitrator, refusal to hear pertinent evidence or other “misbehavior”, or an arbitrator exceeding his authority. Although Rodriguez stuffed most of these grounds into his complaint, his disagreements with the arbitrator boiled down to challenges to several of the arbitrator’s evidentiary rulings and the length of Rodriguez’s suspension. Neither of these challenges was likely to have convinced the court to overturn Rodriguez’s suspension as they do not satisfy any of the requirements under the Act.
Faced with MLB’s Motion to Dismiss, Rodriguez chose discretion over valor and withdrew his lawsuit. As the collective bargaining agreement between MLB and its players states, arbitration was the “full, final and complete disposition” of Rodriguez’s dispute with MLB, which is exactly what the Federal Arbitration Act and the courts endorse. Now Rodriguez will serve out his 162-game suspension as ruled by the arbitrator.