By Sean Pendergast
By Sean Pendergast
By Jeff Balke
By Richard Connelly
By Jeff Balke
By Casey Michel
By Craig Hlavaty
By Jeff Balke
CAUSE NO. ________________
In the District Court of Harris County, Texas
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Voters of the City of Houston, Texas
PLAINTIFFS' ORIGINAL PETITION
To the Honorable Judge of Said Court:
Come now plaintiffs NASA and the City of Houston, who hereby complain of defendants Drayton McLane, registered agent and owner of alleged "baseball team," Larry Dierker, purported "manager," and members of alleged "team," who are believed to do business in Harris County, Texas, and may be served at Enron Field, 500 Crawford Street, Houston, Texas.
1. For nearly a half-century, NASA had held international respect and dignity. Despite an inability to do so much as land a rover on the planet Mars, it had maintained said respected reputation. This was due in part to the goodwill, admiration and esteem attached to its personnel known as "astronauts."
2. Defendants McLane, Dierker and alleged "team" appropriated the NASA trade name "astronauts," reducing it to the term "Astros" and using said term to identify said team.
3. Plaintiff voters reside within the legally recognized municipality known as Houston. Despite having the filthiest air in the nation and a roadway system in a state of constant disarray, said Houstonians have generally enjoyed international respect and esteem.
4. Defendants McLane, Dierker and alleged "team" appropriated the name "Houston" and used said term to identify themselves.
5. Defendant McLane on or about September 14, 1996, signed an agreement representing that defendant would field a "competitive" major-league baseball team in exchange for taxpayer funding for a $250 million stadium. Based on such material representations, county voters on or about November 5, 1996, agreed to such a binding contract.
6. As a result of the legally enforceable agreement, voters complied with provisions and provided McLane and said team with a stadium known as Enron Field. Further, they accepted exorbitant concession prices (i.e., $5.50 for a watered-down "beer"). Through 55 home games this season, they purchased more than 2.14 million tickets to further support said team.
7. Defendants began play at said stadium on March 30, 2000. McLane immediately breached contract terms, in part by (a) failing to field anything remotely resembling a "competitive" team and (b) failing to honor his contractual commitment for a "major-league" team.
In fact, the roster now lists a majority of "minor-league" athletes, with the prospects of ever more "minor-league" players, as well as reports of team recruiters now soliciting the varsity squad from Bellaire High. Said McLane "team" has amassed the worst record in baseball, with absolutely no indication of future improvement.
8. As a result of these despicable acts by defendants, plaintiffs NASA and voters have been subjected to extreme ridicule, shame, scorn and humiliation nationally and even internationally. Through use of the identifiable names "Astros" and "Houston," defendants have caused the aggravated defamation of voters and aeronautical personnel at NASA.
9. Defendants Dierker and McLane at no time exercised due diligence in either the screening of applicants for said "team," or their hiring or supervision, or the retention of qualified athletes (i.e., trades of Mike Hampton, Carl Everett, Derek Bell). In fact, said defendants acted with willful and/or conscious indifference to the impacts of their actions on fans, and proximately caused the omissions and injuries upon plaintiffs.
CAUSES OF ACTION
1. Defamation of a federal agency and an entire city.
2. Gross negligence.
3. Deceptive Trade Practices Act violations for false references to "major-league" baseball.
4. Breach of contract.
5. Slip-and-fall (in standings).
Upon trial of this case, plaintiffs will show they suffered injuries and may suffer more injuries in the future as a result of the occurrences above. Unspecified compensation and damages are sought for medical expenses, therapy, lost wages, attorney fees, court costs, severe pain and suffering, whiplash, exemplary damages, funeral and burial expenses, reconstructive surgery and any other relief to which plaintiffs may show themselves to be justly entitled.
Under DTPA provisions, plaintiffs request treble damages. In the interim, plaintiffs will be subjected to irreparable harm unless the court grants injunctive remedies barring said team from further use of the name "Houston" or "Astros." Plaintiffs propose the court order that they be referred to only as "Lastros."
Plaintiffs also respectfully request a permanent injunction barring Jose Lima from the starting rotation, and a protective order requiring him to remain at least two miles from any church or school and the property referred to as Enron Field.
Plaintiffs also plead that the court punitively sentence defendant McLane to 800 hours of community service. His punishment: to be locked inside a batting cage with Jose Lima as Lima performs song-and-dance medleys of his 500 favorite tunes -- Milo Hamilton will do the play-by-play.
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