Astros Sued by Season-Ticket Holder Adam Wallach After Sign-Stealing Scandal

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 18, 2020

WEST PALM BEACH, FL - FEBRUARY 24: The Houston Astros logo is displayed outside The Ballpark of the Palm Beaches prior to the spring training game against the Atlanta Braves on February 24, 2018 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Houston Astros season-ticket holder Adam Wallach filed a lawsuit against the organization Friday for "deceptively overcharging" fans because of the club's sign-stealing scandal.

David Barron of the Houston Chronicle reported Monday that Wallach is seeking class-action status so fans can seek damages in "excess of a million dollars," alleging the MLB team committed "negligence, breach of contract and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act."

The lawsuit alleges the Astros and their employees "knowingly and surreptitiously engaged in a sign-stealing scheme" and "secretly put a deficient product on the field" for the past three seasons that led to "severe penalties" from MLB.

In January, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Houston was fined $5 million, the maximum allowable in the league's constitution, and was stripped of its first- and second-round picks in the 2020 and 2021 MLB drafts because of the scandal.

General manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch each received a one-year suspension and were fired by the Astros on the day the league's report became public.

Manfred has since come under fire for his response to the scandal, which didn't include punishments for any of the players who took part in the scheme.

Atlanta Braves outfielder Nick Markakis became the latest player in a long list to speak out about the situation since the start of spring training last week.

"The way he handled the situation, he should be embarrassed of himself," Markakis told reporters about Manfred on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Astros have been named in multiple other lawsuit since the sign-stealing allegations became public in a November article by Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich of The Athletic.

Two class-action federal lawsuits have been filed since January on behalf of daily fantasy players alleging the Astros' actions tainted the contests. MLB, MLB Advanced Media and the Boston Red Sox, who are also under league investigation for an alleged sign-stealing scheme, were also named.

Last week, a Georgia man filed a handwritten lawsuit from the state's Long State Prison stating he wagered on the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the 2017 and 2018 World Series titles, per Barron. He alleged the Astros and Red Sox's actions violated the "Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization statute."

Houston (2017) and Boston (2018) both defeated the Dodgers in the World Series.

Former MLB pitcher Mike Bolsinger also sued the Astros based on his final appearance with the Toronto Blue Jays in August 2017 when he gave up four runs in one-third of an inning during a road game against the Astros. He was designated for assignment the next day and hasn't since appeared in MLB since.

Bolsinger wrote about his lawsuit for the Washington Post:

"My opinion is that cheating brought the Astros lavish rewards and that real accountability is needed. I want my lawsuit to lead to positive change. In addition to seeking personal damages, I'm demanding that the Astros donate their $31 million in 2017 postseason bonuses to charity. Baseball is at an important crossroads. How the game responds to this scandal will define its credibility and its existence for years to come."

The entire situation is hanging over MLB like a dark cloud with just over a month until the start of the 2020 regular season, and the results of the Red Sox investigation are still to come.

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