Douglas K. Brocail v. Detroit Tigers, Inc., No. 08-0926 (DocketDB) (direct link to COA opinion)

A petition for review has been filed involving a major league pitcher, Doug Brocail, who lives in Texas and has pitched for both of Texas’s major league clubs — but who is actually suing the Detroit Tigers. (( I mentioned the court of appeals opinion very briefly when it was issued. ))

Brocail is suing for compensation for an injury he suffered during the 2000 season. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the Detroit Tigers. The appeal asks whether Brocail’s claims are preempted, either under the Federal Labor-Management Relations Act or Michigan labor statutes. The court of appeals ultimately concluded that the trial court’s summary judgment in favor of the ball club should be affirmed.

Brocail’s common-law claims arise under Michigan law, which is out of the Court’s usual strike zone, as is the question of how to construe a Michigan statute. On the other hand the federal question may be of broader interest to Texans. And there is at least some precedent for the Court taking a case involving substantial questions about a sister state’s law, if the Court is sufficiently interested in the subject matter. (( One example is Arkoma Basin Exploration Co. v. FMF Assocs. 1990-A, Ltd., No. 03-1066 (Tex. 2008), in which the liability turned on questions of Virginia law. ))

I think that’s a 2-2 count. Next pitch is the Tigers’.