(Bloomberg Law) -- Rapper Bad Bunny’s sports agency, Rimas Sports, is suing the Major League Baseball Players Association for tortiously trying to put the agency out of business.

Diamond Sports LLC—doing business as Rimas Sports—asserts the MLBPA issued a “death-penalty sanction” on the agency and its associated music label, Rimas Entertainment, by preventing MLBPA certified agents from contracting with clients. The suit, filed in the US District Court for the District of Puerto Rico, says the restrictions exceed the labor union’s statutory authority under the National Labor Relations Act.

“MLBPA has effectively placed a death-penalty sanction on Rimas Sports as an agency...from contracting with clients who may wish to secure branding, sponsorship or endorsement deals. These restrictions extend well beyond the scope of the MLBPA’s authority to regulate its agents,” the complaint says.

Among other claims, Rimas brings a declaratory claim in the complaint seeking to determine the scope of MLBPA’s regulations and statutory power under the NLRA.

Rimas Sports was founded in 2021 by Noah Assad, Jonathan Miranda, and Benito Martinez-Ocasio—better known as three-time Grammy winning artist Bad Bunny. The sports management firm claims to be one of the few homegrown agencies in Latin America.

Since its founding, the company has signed MLB talent like Francisco Alvarez, Eddie Roasario, Diego Cartaya, among others.

Rimas Sports currently represents about 70 players—14 of which are in the MLB, while the rest are in minor league baseball, according to the complaint.

Almost all MLB players are represented by MLBPA certified agents, who are allowed to represent players when they negotiate their club contracts and other deals like sponsorship or endorsements under MLBPA regulations.

The NLRA grants the MLBPA authority to collectively bargain on behalf of MLB and minor league baseball players. Under the NLRA, the MLB and MiLB aren’t allowed to bargain with any agent other than one designated by MLBPA, which has regulations and is the sole authority for certifying agents.

Rimas Sports can’t hold a MLBPA player agent certification as only individuals can be certified, the complaint notes. Rimas claims its meteoric rise in recruiting players from Latin America disrupted the baseball sports agency order, which is something the MLBPA and Rimas Sports’ competitors sought to stop.

Agents seeking to represent players must apply to be certified with the MLBPA. According to the complaint, players must then execute a “Player Agent Designation” form with the MLBPA in order for a certified agent to represent the player.

MLBPA engaged in a discriminatory, pre-determined investigation for nearly two years with the intention of permanently putting Rimas Sports out of business, according to the complaint.

Rimas says its competitors accused it of violating MLBPA’s regulations, which prompted the labor union to engage in an investigation of William Arroyo’s—Rimas’ lead agent—existing certification, and the requested certification of Assad and Miranda (the co-founders with Bad Bunny).

Following the investigation, MLBPA issued a “Notice of Discipline” to Rimas Sports’ agents Arroyo, Assad, and Miranda. MLBPA decided to revoke Arroyo’s certification and prevent Assad and Miranda from becoming certified. MLBPA’s restrictions were put into immediate effect.

Rimas also asserts MLBPA worked to eliminate it from the sports agency market by intentionally preventing certified agents from working with Rimas Sports in any capacity. Rimas received evidence nearly a year before the MLBPA completed the investigation. Rimas says the evidence revealed the labor union stopped three Pasadena, California-based entertainment lawyers from working with it.

“The MLBPA does not have the authority or ability to prohibit certified agents from representing players in matters unrelated to their MLB employment agreements or from associating with non-regulated entities like the Rimas Companies,” the complaint asserts.

In addition to the claim under the Declaratory Judgment Act, the complaint asserts a tort claim under Puerto Rican law, and a claim for tortious interference with contract.

Rimas is seeking preliminary injunctive relief to stop MLBPA from prohibiting agents who have certifications from working with Rimas, damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs.

MLBPA didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Judge Camille L. Velez-Rive is assigned the case.

Colon Serrano Zambrana LLC and Marini Pietrantoni Muniz LLC represent Rimas.

The case is Diamond Sports, LLC v. Major League Baseball Players Assoc., D.P.R., No. 3:24-cv-01222, complaint 5/16/24.

To contact the reporter on this story: Tre’Vaughn Howard at thoward@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Adam Ramirez at aramirez@bloombergindustry.com; Martina Stewart at mstewart@bloombergindustry.com

©2024 Bloomberg L.P.