Orioles argue TV rights fee case before New York appellate panel

The Orioles and their television network continued their quest Friday to have an independent body finally decide a TV rights fee dispute rather than Major League Baseball, which the club says predetermined the outcome.

Attorney Carter Phillips told a five-judge appellate panel of the New York State Supreme Court that the Orioles can't get a fair hearing from MLB in the case over how much the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network owes the Washington Nationals for the right to show their games.

Phillips appeared to find some support when one of the justices responded to a request by the Nationals and MLB to send the case back to the league's Revenue Sharing Definitions Committee for a new hearing.

"You want to go right back into the same dirty swimming pool?" Justice Richard T. Andrias asked Stephen Neuwirth, who represented the Nationals.

It is uncertain when the panel will rule on the appeal. The Orioles want to have the rights fees settled by a neutral form such as the American Arbitration Association.

The court can confirm or reject a New York Supreme Court judge's 2015 ruling tossing out the MLB panel's decision compelling MASN to pay tens of millions of dollars a year more to the Nationals in TV rights fees. The Orioles control the network, which broadcasts both teams' games.

The judge said in 2015 that MASN did not receive an impartial hearing. He cited MASN's argument that the same outside counsel — New York-based law firm Proskauer Rose — represented the Nationals, Major League Baseball and the three teams whose owners were on the arbitration panel during the years when the case was being considered.

Paul Clement, representing MLB, argued Friday that the Proskauer's representation was "at most an appearance issue."

The Associated Press contributed to this article from New York

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