The ongoing saga of Charlie Blackmon’s 1979 Pontiac Trans Am gets COVID

Thanks in significant part to the historic woes of the Arizona Diamondbacks, owners of an active road losing streak twenty-three games in length, the Colorado Rockies have risen out of last place in the National League West, though their 30-43 record wouldn’t place them in any better position in any other MLB division. Star outfielder Charlie Blackmon has significantly improved his personal situation, however. What in early May looked like the worst season of his career (e.g., 58 OPS+/56 wRC+) now shapes up as merely league average. Maybe DRC+ (then the outlier at 108, now roughly steady at 112) knows something after all, and the fact that Blackmon maintained an on-base streak almost as long as Arizona’s losing streak certainly helped.

The Rockies don’t face the Atlanta Braves until September, by which time Blackmon likely hopes his Georgia-based legal troubles will have been resolved. ALDLAND remains–weirdly– your exclusive source for coverage of the legal saga of Blackmon’s 1979 Pontiac Trans Am. After Blackmon sued a Georgia man and his company in January, alleging that they refused to either complete work on or return his vintage vehicle, it looked like the case was steering toward a fast resolution when the defendants fumbled their opportunities to respond to the lawsuit. As predicted in these very digital pages, Blackmon then asked the Superior Court of Cherokee County, Georgia, to grant him a default judgment against both the individual defendant, Michael Ramsey, and the corporate defendant, Ramsey Performance. My assessment of the case at that point:

Judge [David] Cannon certainly has plenty of latitude to grant a default judgment in Blackmon’s favor here. The easiest part to resolve should be a ruling on the question of a default judgment against Ramsey’s company, which, in Georgia, must be represented by a lawyer. Apparently open questions about the precise nature of the remedy or remedies Blackmon seeks (e.g., Does he just want his car back? Does he want money from Ramsey, and, if so, exactly how much?) may complicate the situation for Blackmon, however, and complications and uncertainties usually are not helpful to a party seeking entry of a default judgment.

Now, in his first edict in this case on the subject of the defendants’ default, Judge Cannon indeed seized upon that easiest portion of the issue before him, but not quite in the manner Blackmon probably wished. Acknowledging that Georgia law requires Ramsey Performance to be represented by an attorney in litigation in that state, the court’s notice nevertheless states that, in consideration of general guidance from the Supreme Court of Georgia favoring generosity in granting extensions of time during pandemic conditions, it will permit Ramsey Performance nearly another month to find a lawyer.

While this is a significant reprieve for Ramsey Performance, the relief may be short-lived. The mere participation of an attorney on the company’s behalf alone will not cure the company’s problems in this case, and that attorney still will be in the difficult position of having to convince Judge Cannon that he should excuse Ramsey Performance’s failures to respond to Blackmon’s complaint and motion for default judgment. To the extent settlement remains on the table, this may push Ramsey, who has repeatedly expressed his displeasure with the notion of having to pay for a lawyer, closer to a deal.

So pump the brakes for now, attentive public, and navigate your browser back here in a few weeks for our continuing exclusive coverage of arguably the summer’s biggest sports law story.

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Previously
A predictable turn in the ongoing saga of Charlie Blackmon’s 1979 Pontiac Trans Am
A reminder that it’s spring training for automotive shop workers too: The ongoing saga of Charlie Blackmon’s 1979 Pontiac Trans Am
The ongoing saga of Charlie Blackmon’s 1979 Pontiac Trans Am

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