CHICAGO (CBS) — The parents of the disgraced Jackie Robinson West Little League team filed a lawsuit against several groups and individuals for their role in a scandal that resulted in the team being stripped of their 2014 national title.
The lawsuit charges that several people improperly profited from the team's success.
In addition, the suit alleges the controversy resulted in emotional distress, defamation of character and invasion of privacy of the team's members and family.
The lawsuit names Little League International, ESPN and officials from the local league, including the team's former coach, Darold Butler, former league president Bill Haley, Evergreen Park whistleblower Chris Janes and ESPN commentator Stephen A. Smith.
Jackie Robinson West was stripped of their championship after Little League International ruled JRW officials allowed ineligible players, who lived outside the team's designated boundaries, to play on the team.
It was Janes who initially raised questions about the residency of some of the JRW players, which led to the Little League International investigation.
The lawsuit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court on Thursday, claims Stephen A. Smith, in a segment on ESPN's "First Take", inaccurately said JRW parents perpetuated a fraud and falsified documents.
The suit also contends Little League International intentionally hid the eligibility questions in order gain favorable publicity for their organization and to profit from the team's success. The suit claims Little League earned "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in revenue.
The suit accuses Janes of intentionally launching his own investigation into the residency issue, but didn't say anything until after the team won its national championship.
Janes committed invasion of privacy by using the families' license plates to determine their home addresses and then reporting them to Little League, the suit claims.
The JRW families are represented in the lawsuit by James Karamanis, of Barney & Karamanis LLC.
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