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Dr. Martin Lawsuit Dismissed in favor of Arbitration

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Claim remanded to opacity of arbitration

MLB: Spring Training-San Diego Padres at Seattle Mariners Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Last week, the Dr. Lorena Martin lawsuit came to at least a temporary conclusion when Judge Regina Cahan ruled that the arbitration clause in Dr. Martin’s contract was not preempted by a new Washington state law against discrimination. To get a sense of the arguments at stake in determining this issue, you can look to our previous coverage here and here.

While Dr. Martin has 30 days to appeal this decision—and I suspect she will do so—barring a surprising result on appeal, this will bring an end to the public lawsuit. The Mariners claimed at the hearing that nothing about the arbitration process will keep her from sharing information from that arbitration, but as Judge Cahan noted in the hearing, an arbitration is really never going to be as public as a full-on lawsuit. We can probably expect bits and pieces of additional information, but it’s likely that the Mariners will remain tight-lipped about the progress of the matter. To that end, it’s important to note that, now that the public suit has ended, any new information will be what one of the parties wants us to learn. This doesn’t question the integrity of either party, and simply serves as a reminder that the release of future news will be likely one-sided and strategic.

If I had to sum up this story in one word from our perspective as outsiders, it’s “unfortunate.” It’s unfortunate that we will likely never get to fully and fairly judge the claims made against the team. It’s unfortunate that a quasi-private resolution to this matter means, no matter your thoughts on the front office, three of its members will have this cloud in their past with no way to fully dispel it for or against them. Dr. Martin’s hiring was lauded as a groundbreaking effort, but across the board the execution failed and fans have subsequently borne witness to one of the more publicly incinerated bridges in franchise history.

We will continue to cover this issue as it arises, but in all likelihood further updates will be minor. It is in my view a disappointing but unsurprising conclusion to a difficult subject.