Major League Baseball has hired John W. Keker, a partner in the San Francisco firm Keker & Van Nest LLP, to serve as its lead counsel in the lawsuit filed in federal court by the City of San Jose, California on June 18th, it was announced today.
Keker specializes in complex antitrust, commercial and intellectual property cases and securities cases. Regarded as one of the country’s top trial lawyers, Keker was the lead counsel for the U.S. legal adviser to the group of Ecuadorian citizens who successfully won an $18 billion judgment against a corporation over environmental damage in their country, the largest single pollution judgment ever imposed. Keker recently won a defense verdict for an employee who was targeted in a Securities & Exchange Commission enforcement action in New York. In 1989, Keker was the chief prosecutor in the Iran-Contra trial involving Oliver North. He has represented Google, Standard & Poor’s and many corporate executives throughout his four-decade career.
Keker is an alumnus of Princeton University and Yale Law School. He served as a Marine infantry platoon leader and lieutenant in Vietnam, for which he won a Purple Heart. After law school, he clerked for the Honorable Earl Warren, the Chief Justice of the United States. Keker was a co-founder of Keker & Van Nest in 1978.
Mr. Keker will work with the New York office of Proskauer, Baseball’s longtime counsel.
About the lawsuit
The city of San Jose sued Major League Baseball in an effort to move the Oakland Athletics to the South Bay, a lawsuit that challenges the Giants' claim to the region and MLB's monopoly over the business of professional baseball. The suit follows years of political wrangling by A's owners John Fisher and Lew Wolff to move the team out of the Oakland Coliseum. The lawsuit claims Major League Baseball and its commissioner, Bud Selig, have violated state and federal laws regarding unfair business practices and anticompetitive conduct. It also challenges the exemption to antitrust laws that the U.S. Supreme Court upheld for Major League Baseball in 1922, which has allowed the league to control everything from merchandising to broadcast rights to team locations.