Law courts ‘no place for baseball dispute’

Defendants of a civil claim alleging the White Rock South Surrey Baseball Association wrongly sanctioned two volunteers say the matter is not one that belongs in court.

Defendants of a civil claim alleging the White Rock South Surrey Baseball Association wrongly sanctioned two volunteers say the matter is not one that belongs in court.

“It is inappropriate for the court to interfere with the proper administrative decisions of a private association which are conducted in accordance with its own rules,” states a response filed in B.C. Supreme Court.

“As a matter of public policy, expensive litigation concerning the administration of childrens’ sporting activities should be discouraged to better keep such activities inexpensive and equally and widely available to the children of all citizens of all income levels.”

The association is being sued by Peninsula residents John Hogg and Graham Edwards, who were notified earlier this year of a decision to ban them from volunteering with the group for two years. Issued in January, the discipline relates to alleged breaches of little league rules, as well the association’s own codes of conduct and all-star coach selection policy, the response states.

“The penalties imposed by the executive were imposed for numerous rule breaches, most of which relate to choosing or recommending a coach… whose qualifications failed to meet the requirements and spirit of the WRSSBA all-star coach selection policy…,” the response, filed June 15, states.

The response notes the penalties are  also connected to the conduct of the all-star coaches at a tournament last summer.

In a claim filed in April, Hogg and Edwards argue the sanctions were levied by the association’s executive based on statements they “knew or ought to have known were untrue.” They accuse the association of failing to adhere to its own rules.

“The plaintiffs seek a declaration that there has been an omission, defect, error or irregularity in the conduct of the affairs of the defendant,” the claim states.

Hogg and Edwards are seeking special, general, aggravated and punitive damages, all of which the association is opposing.

According to the response, little league rule infractions are “trivial matters” that don’t belong in court. The association investigated the alleged breaches, abided by its bylaws in administering sanctions and provided both men opportunities to present their sides and appeal the penalty, the document states.

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