Everybody likes a freebie, but lawsuits filed by a San Diego attorney have made some Major League Baseball teams change their giveaway policies.
Earlier this year, Alfred Rava and the Oakland Athletics came to a preliminary settlement concerning a three-year-old class-action suit over a Mother's Day weekend giveaway of free plaid reversible bucket hats. Rava accused the A's of sex discrimination after he did not receive a hat during a promotion at a game May 8, 2004.
Bob Rose, a spokesman for the A's, said the organization will no longer offer male- or female-only giveaways, in part due to the suit. As an example, Rose cited this year's Mother's Day giveaway. On May 10, the A's gave away tote bags to the first 10,000 fans.
The preliminary settlement — which should receive final approval in August — calls for the A's organization and Macy's, who sponsored the giveaway, to pay as much as $250,000 to a maximum of 2,500 men who can provide proof they attended the game. An additional $260,000 will go toward court-approved attorney fees and costs, claims administration fees and other things — including an "enhancement fee," which could be as much as $20,000, to Rava for representing the class in the lawsuit.
The A's are not the first team to change giveaway policies due to Rava.
Two years ago, a judge dismissed a similar lawsuit against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in which Rava was representing the plaintiff.
Afterward, an appeals court also ruled in the favor of the Angels.
Nevertheless, Angels spokesman Tim Mead said the club no longer does giveaways for men or women only.
This year on Mother's Day, all fans 18 and older received pink tote bags. In the past, the team had given out freebies only to women on Mother's Day to honor the holiday.
"I think most people would agree Mother's Day is a special day," Mead said.
"I don't think a lot of people would argue with that."
The A's play the Padres in San Diego on Sunday, which is Father's Day.