A former batting practice pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies who was fired from his
position after nearly four-and-a-half years of employment is suing the professional sports team and its manager for defamation.
Ali Modami, who worked for the organization from May 2007 to October 2011, claims in his civil action that Phillies General Manager Ruben Amaro, Jr., named as a co-defendant in the case, smeared his name and prevented the plaintiff from obtaining work at other sports teams.
Modami is being represented by Philadelphia lawyer Sidney L. Gold, who filed the defamation suit Nov. 5 at the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
According to the complaint, Modami was called by Amaro in October of last year to inform the plaintiff that his job would be terminated immediately, allegedly because the team was “going in a different direction,” and was attempting to “change up the hitting program.”
Following his firing, Modami contacted friends who were employed as baseball players for two other professional teams to inquire about seeking new employment.
In late 2011, Modami received a phone call from Don Mattingly, a manager with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who applauded the plaintiff’s credentials, and said he was interested in bringing Modami aboard, the lawsuit states.
About a month later, Modami called Ned Colletti, the Dodgers’ general manager, to follow up on the potential employment issue, at which time the plaintiff was told the team’s bankruptcy proceedings were inhibiting many of the team’s hiring decisions.
In early January of this year, Modami received a text message from friend Jayson Werth, a former Phillies player currently contracted with the Washington Nationals, which said a potential job opportunity with the Nationals appeared to be dead as well, the suit states.
During a subsequent phone conversation, Werth disclosed to Modami that the Nationals’ manager had spoken with the Phillies’ Amaro, who “maliciously and/or intentionally, and without privilege or justification, communicated false and misleading information about Plaintiff Modami and the circumstances surrounding the termination of his employment with the Phillies,” the complaint states.
Specifically, Amaro allegedly and falsely told the Nationals’ manager that Modami had stolen and sold memorabilia, and was writing negative things about the Phillies on the Internet.
“Said actions constituted an intentional and purposeful effort on behalf of the Defendants to prevent and/or interfere with Plaintiff Modami’s prospective employment with the Nationals,” the lawsuit states.
Modami never engaged in any of the conduct he was accused of doing by Amaro, the suit claims.
The same accusations were made to the Dodgers, the complaint alleges, which prevented Modami from obtaining employment with that team as well.
“Based upon the foregoing, Plaintiff Modami believes and avers that Defendants’ publication of the aforementioned defamatory comments caused significant injury to Plaintiff Modami’s reputation and character and intentionally interfered with his prospective employment relationships, thereby depriving him of future income and earnings,” the complaint states.
The lawsuit contains counts of defamation, slander, and tortious interference with prospective business relations.
Modami says he has sustained emotional distress, humiliation, embarrassment, loss of self-esteem, difficulty in obtaining gainful employment and a loss of earnings and future earning power as a result of the defendants’ conduct.
Modami seeks more than $100,000 in damages as well as a jury trial.
The case ID number is 121100135.