Just because the Tampa Bay Rays missed the MLB playoffs does not mean their season is over.
The Rays have an ongoing battle in the Florida court system against their previous concessionaire, Centerplate. In December 2017, the Rays brought suit against Centerplate alleging breach of contract and negligence. The suit stated Centerplate, “surreptitiously cut corners, underreported gross receipts, concealed performance issues, underpaid the Rays, and underperformed under the Concession Agreement to the detriment of the Rays and their fans.”
This suit came after a Sports Illustrated article listed the Rays as having the worst concessions for “food safety” in the MLB in 2017. The article cited multiple health code violations while Centerplate was running the operations.
The lawsuit continues to mentions failed health checks in 2010 and 2013; both of these were brought to the national spotlight by ESPN and ABC investigations.
This past Friday, the Rays requested employment records of Centerplate saying that they are relevant to the case. Centerplate is trying to claim employee privacy laws prevent them from handing out this information.
In order for Centerplate to effectively block this request they will have to show that their employees are not relevant to the case, thus the information would be protected from disclosure.
Within the lawsuit, the Rays stated that Centerplate allegedly hired a sex offender. If Centerplate denied this allegation, then the Rays may be able to force the release of employment records through discovery because they are pertinent to the claims in this case.
Just because the files are discoverable does not mean they will be admissible in the case. However, it appears that Centerplate’s claim of employee privacy will not be successful in this case, as the records are directly related to allegations made by the Rays.
Centerplate has tried to have the case tossed out once already, but the Rays have made very clear statements and claims against them.
I expect this case to settle out of court. If this goes to trial, Centerplate will risk private information damaging them in the public eye, thus ending any chance of future concession service deals.