SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The owners of the former Joplin Blasters and the concessions operator who served food and beverages at games during the baseball team's first season here have settled a lawsuit.
The two sides, Sodexo Operations and Pro Baseball Management, have filed notice in U.S. District Court at Springfield that they have agreed to a settlement. They ask that the court dismiss the lawsuit, which was filed in May.
While not disclosing any other terms of the settlement agreement or revealing whether there was any money paid to settle the allegations in the lawsuit, the stipulation reads that "both parties have voluntarily agreed to dismiss their claims and counterclaims."
The settlement agreement came about after the two sides agreed to participate in mediation.
In the meantime, there has been no further action in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court by the city of Joplin against the baseball group alleging default on a lease agreement for Joe Becker Stadium.
Online court records show that a representative for the baseball group was served copies of the lawsuit Oct. 27.
The city seeks $5 million in damages as a result of the Blasters' failure to follow through on lease requirements, including the last $15,000 payment of the 2016 season. The city spent about $5 million to rebuild the stadium for the professional team's use.
Sodexo filed the lawsuit contending that the two sides sealed a five-year deal for Sodexo to provide staffing and food and drink service in concession stands at Joe Becker Stadium for Blasters games. Sodexo contended it made a $200,000 cash investment with the Pro Baseball principals, Oscar, Gabriel and Shawn Suarez, to secure the business.
According to the lawsuit, the Blasters notified Sodexo early this year that the team owners were canceling the contract because they “failed to meet the goals of its season projections and as a result had to make deep cuts in the concession management/services.”
On Feb. 19, Sodexo accepted the termination of the concessions contract for the second season but demanded by letter the return of the amortized balance of the investment, $178,076. The company also sent an invoice of $6,302 for remaining inventory left at the stadium and $2,745 for stadium signs that were not returned.
The breach of contract lawsuit demanded $187,124.
The Blasters filed a counterclaim contending they were owed money by Sodexo for concession sales, but the counterclaim did not specify the amount.
The attorney for the baseball group, Steven Hays of Joplin, did not return a telephone message seeking comment. An email to Gabriel Suarez was returned as undeliverable. Sodexo did not respond to an email seeking comment.
The Joplin Outlaws will use Joe Becker Stadium next season for their MINK League games.