Major League Baseball's civil lawsuit against Biogenesis will continue as a Miami-Dade County Circuit Court judge declined a motion to dismiss the suit filed against clinic operator, Anthony Bosch, and his associates. They are accused of having distributed illegal performance-enhancing substances to about 20 players, including several big names.
Judge Ronald C. Dresnick denied motions made on behalf of defendants Carlos Acevedo and Biokem LLC. Biokem was located in the same Coral Gables, Fla., office that later housed the now-defunct Biogenesis of America. Both were given 20 days to answer the amended complaint.
According to ESPN.com, Acevedo's attorney, Martin Beguiristain, argued last week that his client had been bullied by MLB investigators and said in court Wednesday that the suit should be dismissed because it violated the statute of limitations. Baseball's lawyer, Adriana Riviere-Badell, argued that Acevedo had worked with Bosch and players from 2009 to 2012, easily within the statute of limitations.
As is customary, the Commissioner's Office declined to comment on an ongoing investigation.
While there was mixed legal opinion when MLB filed its lawsuit in March, it has proven to be an effective tool. In fact, Bosch has reportedly agreed to cooperate with investigators because he doesn't have the resources to fight the allegations in court. In return, MLB has promised to drop the lawsuit against him, indemnify him from any liability that results from his testimony and to provide personal security.
In fact, ESPN reports, Bosch has already turned over phone records, texts and e-mails he exchanged with players and that MLB is "building its case on a combination of the Biogenesis documents they acquired more than a month ago, testimony from Bosch and other associates, the materials Bosch has provided, and the cooperation of minor league players trying to reduce their suspensions."
Beguiristain told ESPN that he has spoken to MLB officials but that they haven't interviewed Acevedo or offered him a deal similar to what Bosch received. Ricardo Martinez, Juan Carlos Nunez and Marcelo Albir are also targets of the lawsuit.
ESPN's "Outside the Lines" has reported that MLB will move to suspend all players who are implicated, although other sources insist investigators are still gathering information and that no decision on seeking suspensions has been made.
Among the players who have been publicly linked to Biogenesis are Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez, Brewers left fielder Ryan Braun, Rangers slugger Nelson Cruz, Athletics right-hander Bartolo Colon, Nationals left-hander Gio Gonzalez, Blue Jays outfielder Melky Cabrera and Padres catcher Yasmani Grandal. There have been reports that records show that Gonzalez received only legal substances from Biogenesis.
Cabrera, Colon and Grandal have previously served suspensions for violating baseball's drug policy.
According to ESPN, players have begun retaining attorneys in recent weeks. Rodriguez, for example, is represented by David Cornwell of Gordon & Rees in Atlanta, who also is representing the Yankees' Francisco Cervelli and Grandal. Cornwell declined comment on Wednesday, but ESPN's Darren Rovell reported last week that Cornwell has been working with Rodriguez for about a month.
Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com.