Training clinic owner sues MLB, alleging illegal hacking
NEW YORK (AP) The owner of a training and sports medicine clinic sued Major League Baseball and several of its employees Thursday, claiming they caused the company's social media accounts to be illegally hacked during the sport's Biogenesis investigation.
Neiman Nix, a 29th-round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 1998, and his DNA Sports Performance Lab, claimed an MLB investigator misrepresented herself as law enforcement and MLB intimidated the company's clients and hacked accounts on YouTube, Facebook and PayPal. The allegations are similar to those filed in a suit two years ago that was dismissed.
Vincent White, Nix's new lawyer, said former MLB investigator Ed Dominguez is cooperating and will testify MLB employees ''illegally gained access to electronic accounts of individuals they investigated through various exploits and phishing schemes. We believe these tactics may have extended to players, team staff and ownership groups.''
The suit admits Nix and his company used Bioidentical Insulin like Growth Factor (IGF-1), which is derived from elk antlers and is on baseball's list of banned substances.
MLB called the suit ''frivolous.''
''Mr. White's purported source for this lawsuit is a disgruntled former MLB employee who was terminated for cause,'' it said in a statement. ''Mr. White has been threatening to file this lawsuit for months in an attempt to coerce MLB into paying his client. MLB considers the allegations in this lawsuit, including the allegations relating to the hacking of DNA Sport Lab's social media accounts, to be sanctionable under New York law.''
Nix and his lab sued MLB, Major League Baseball Properties, Major League Baseball Enterprises, then Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB investigator Awilda Santana on Feb. 18, 2014, in Florida state court, alleging defamation, slander and tortious interference. MLB senior vice president of investigations Dan Mullin and senior director of investigations George Hanna also were defendants.
The case was dismissed that Nov. 6 by Circuit Judge John W. Thornton, who said the plaintiffs and their lawyers never served the suit on the defendants and failed to show up for scheduled case management conferences.
Thornton wrote ''this court's patience is at an end'' and then added, referring to the time it took for the case: ''TWO HUNDRED SIXTY ONE (261) to perfect service in this case. At no times has a summons in this case ever been issued.'' He also said the plaintiffs and their lawyers failed to show up for scheduled case management conferences.
''At that time the case wasn't ripe,'' White said. ''Frankly, the cooperation of the investigators we have today makes or breaks this matter.''
The new suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, claims tortious interference under Florida and New York law and lists MLB, Selig, new commissioner Rob Manfred and Santana as defendants along with MLB vice president of information security Neil Boland.
Mullin and Hannah were terminated by MLB two years ago.
White did not identify others in addition to Dominguez who were cooperating.
''Mr. Dominguez is the most outspoken but we expect other investigators, based on our communications with them, to also be testifying,'' he said.
White also represents former Mets closer Jenrry Mejia, who was banned for life in February following his third positive drug test.
The Biogenesis investigation led to the suspensions of more than a dozen players, including Yankees star Alex Rodriguez.