The Kansas City Packers were one of eight teams in the Federal League in 1914. The league had aspirations, and there was a lot of powerful money behind it -- oil money, beer money, ice money -- as well as several locally powerful team owners. But the Packers were the exception. They had no truly influential leaders, and very little money. The team was so weak that it was forced to borrow from the league itself, only to face a double-cross. The president of the league called the loan, and the team was forced into bankruptcy. The Packers sued the league claiming breach of contract.
In the meantime, the Federal League had sued Major League Baseball, a case that landed in the Chicago courtroom of the man who would later become the game's first commissioner, Kenesaw Mountain Landis. Eventually, the Federal League reached an accommodation with the American and National Leagues, one that excluded not just Kansas City, but also, by its own choice, the Baltimore entrant, the Terrapins. The Terrapins then sued Major League Baseball on their own in the case that eventually established the so-called exemption of the sport from the antitrust laws.
It was, to say the least, a litigation-rich environment.
A century later, young night-schooled lawyer Andy Dennum has landed a position with a prestigious law firm, only to find himself tasked with mucking out the firm's archive of presumedly dead files. There he stumbles across an old, and perhaps still viable, file containing a single document that might suggest there was still more to the story. The firm shows no interest, and after several more months reviewing old cases, Andy is summarily fired to make room for the next night-school grunt to pick up the task.
But Andy has other ideas. Assisted by his girlfriend, professional cartographer and amateur genealogist Keiley Barefoot, he follows a series of leads to a conclusion he never expected. And he finds himself in a courtroom facing his old nemesis, the senior partner who fired him.
At stake? Not only the viability of Major League Baseball's business model, but Andy's future as a lawyer, and even his sense of self.
You win some, you lose some. Some get rained out. Especially in Kansas City.
It all comes together in The Federal Case.