San Jose has moved one of its court fights against Major League Baseball over the stalled Oakland A's relocation to what it considers a friendlier legal ballpark.
Lawyers for the city have shifted a state court lawsuit from Santa Cruz to Los Angeles, responding to warnings from the league's legal team that they would object to the case being heard in a court so close to San Jose's interests.
The state court case centers on San Jose's claims that MLB is interfering with the city's business interests by blocking the A's move because of a lease agreement between San Jose and the team to buy city land for a downtown ballpark.
Those claims are considered secondary to San Jose's central argument that MLB has violated federal antitrust laws by delaying an A's move to Silicon Valley. That challenge to baseball's antitrust exemption is likely to be heard later this spring by a federal appeals court.
But San Jose is nevertheless pressing the other legal arguments under California law, and it will now be heard by judges and possibly jurors in Los Angeles, the home of the San Francisco Giants' rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The A's quest to move to San Jose has thus far been blocked because the Giants have asserted their territorial rights to the South Bay.
Howard Mintz covers legal affairs. Contact him at 408-286-0236 or follow him at Twitter.com/hmintz.