A San Diego lawyer and the Oakland Athletics baseball organization have settled a class-action lawsuit over a Mother's Day weekend giveaway of free plaid reversible bucket hats.
The more than $500,000 settlement stems from a lawsuit filed three years ago by Alfred Rava in Alameda County Superior Court. Rava accused the Oakland A's of sex discrimination after he did not receive a free plaid reversible bucket hat during a promotion at A's game May 8, 2004.
The suit, filed on behalf of all men who were denied the reversible hats, asserted discrimination occurred because the hats were given only to women. Rava also included Macy's department stores, which sponsored the giveaway, in the suit.
The settlement, which received preliminary approval from Superior Court Judge Robert Freedman in March, calls for the A's organization and Macy's to pay up to $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 settlement, which is expected to be made final in August, allows for any male who attended the May 8, 2004 game — and can provide some sort of receipt showing they had a ticket to the game — to receive $50, a two-for-one A's ticket offer and $25 in Macy's discounts. The total value of the settlement per individual is $100.
An A's spokesman had no comment on the settlement.
According to Gregory Cartwright, the attorney representing Rava, 43 people have thus far submitted claims. The deadline to submit claims is June 25. Claims are being handled by Simpluris, which can be contacted at www.simpluris.com.
Rava has been part of many similar lawsuits in the past, mainly in Southern California, filing lawsuits against restaurants, nightclubs and other businesses that offer Ladies' Nights and similar discounts to a select group of people.
Rava has either been the plaintiff, or the attorney representing the plaintiffs in the other lawsuits.
In many of those lawsuits, including the one against the A's, Rava cites California's Unruh Civil Rights Act as the primary anti-discrimination law violated. The act prohibits discrimination based on age, race and other characteristics.
Calls to Rava's law firm were not answered.
Two years ago, a similar lawsuit was dismissed in Orange County Superior Court. Rava was representing the plaintiff, Michael Cohn, in that case. That lawsuit alleged males and fans younger than 18 were treated unequally when they were denied a red nylon tote bag during a Mother's Day promotion at a Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim game in 2005. The bag was being given away to women 18 and older.
According to the Orange County Register, Superior Court Judge Jonathan Cannon ruled in a summary judgment that the tote bag freebie was not discriminatory against men and that the "Family Sunday" event in 2005 was a way to honor mothers.
"The method they used was reasonable under the circumstances," Cannon told Rava.
An appeals court also later ruled in the Angels' favor.
Angels spokesman Tim Mead said the club no longer does giveaway for one sex only, despite its court victories. This year on Mother's Day, all fans ages 18 and older received pink tote bags.