Court documents reveal ‘team’s anger’ toward ex-Lotte player Ikuhiro Kiyota | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Court documents reveal ‘team’s anger’ toward ex-Lotte player Ikuhiro Kiyota

"Former Lotte player Ikuhiro Kiyota has been in the spotlight for his unprecedented lawsuit claiming that the termination of his contract was illegal. In the court documents, Lotte's response to the suspension and the negotiations leading up to the trial were described in detail.

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With the support of G.G. Sato (foreground), Kiyota is still training for his return.

It has come to our attention that Ikuhiro Kiyota (35) has filed a lawsuit against the Chiba Lotte Marines, to which he belonged until May of this year, seeking about 97 million yen, including status confirmation and compensation.

Kiyota filed the complaint on September 30, and the first oral argument was held on November 4. According to the lawyer representing Kiyota, he had many discussions with the team before filing the complaint. In the end, however, the Lotte side broke off negotiations and the case was decided in court.

I’m sure Lotte knew that if the case went to court, it would be known to the public. But why did Lotte terminate the negotiations? According to the court documents submitted to the Tokyo District Court, Lotte’s unconcealed “anger” toward Kiyota came through loud and clear.

According to the court documents, Kiyota had signed a two-year contract that began on December 27, 2008. The annual salary was 65 million yen, which included an incentive contract of up to 35 million yen. Kiyota’s side claims that the sudden termination of his contract is an abuse of the right to dismiss, and is asking the team to do the following

(1) Confirmation of his status as a ballplayer

(2) Approximately 22 million yen in unpaid compensation for the four months between the May 23 termination of his contract and the lawsuit.

(3) Remuneration to be paid from October to December of next year.

(4) 11 million yen in compensation.

In response, Lotte is seeking to have the claim dismissed. The company’s consistent stance is that the cancellation of the contract is justified.

The reasons for Lotte’s termination of the contract, as stated in the court documents, are as follows

Less than two weeks after his suspension was lifted, he again violated Corona-related rules and went out unnecessarily. This was reported in the press, and the social status of the team was severely degraded, and the team was criticized more severely than before.

In spite of the fact that he could have easily imagined that the team would be severely punished due to public criticism, he voluntarily made it difficult for himself to play as a professional baseball player.

In the hearings conducted by the team, he repeatedly gave false or unreasonable answers, changed his explanations two or three times, and showed no sincere attitude toward the team’s investigation.

Kiyota was suspended indefinitely on January 15. It was also noted that he had appealed to the team after that, saying that he wanted to explain himself to the public. Kiyota told the team’s public relations and general manager that there was an error in the news report and that he wanted to explain, but the team refused on the grounds that it would cause too much trouble. Kiyota suggested that he would like to do community service, but this was also rejected by the team.

Through the players’ association, Kiyota continued to negotiate for the early withdrawal of his indefinite suspension, and on March 11, he donated about 4 million yen to a fund for the new coronavirus and submitted a letter of remorse in his own handwriting to the team. Here, he was finally allowed to practice using the team’s facilities.

The most interesting part of the letter was the details of his four-month suspension. It is said that the team asked Kiyota to submit detailed reports on his activities every day.

For example, here is one of them. When I told the public relations department that Kiyota had gone to Ginza to pick up his shoes, they said

“Why are you going to that place? Don’t go there.

He was told not to go there. When I reported that he had played catch in a nearby park at around 4:00 p.m., he said, “Why are you doing that?

When I reported that I had played catch in the neighborhood park around 4:00 p.m., he said, “Why do you do that? You should practice in the morning or at night so that you won’t be seen.

He was instructed to practice in the morning or at night so as not to be seen.

When his contract was terminated in May, he was summoned to a hotel and told unilaterally that his side of the story would not be accepted.

On June 15, about a month after the termination of his contract, Kiyota sent a content-certified letter to Lotte through his attorney, demanding that the termination of his contract be nullified. Negotiations between the representatives took place several times, but were eventually terminated by the team in mid-August.

During the negotiations between the two representatives, Lotte apparently made some surprising comments. There was supposed to be a two-year contract with Kiyota, but the Lotte side said

“The team did not agree to the two-year contract. It became a problem when Friday’s report came out before the contract was signed.

But the Lotte side told him, “The team did not agree to the two-year contract.

The reason why Lotte’s lawyer broke off the talks is as follows.

We have come to the conclusion that we have no choice but to conclude that Mr. Kiyota has once again highlighted the fact that he considers this termination to be invalid.

As I told you in the first meeting (interview), although the team had room for discussion based on the premise that the termination was valid, if Mr. Kiyota disputed the validity of the termination, we thought it was unavoidable that it would become a dispute, and we approached the discussion with you. With a definite discrepancy between the perceptions of the team and Mr. Kiyota, we have decided that we cannot offer any amount of money as a counterproposal to your proposal for a negotiated settlement.

According to a source close to Kiyota, he has not given up on his plan to return to NPB and is continuing to practice.

In an interview with this magazine, Kiyota said

“I’d like to talk about it, but I’m not in a position to do so. I can’t say anything at the moment.

I can’t say anything at the moment,” was his only reply.

“Kiyota has filed an unprecedented lawsuit claiming that the punishment is illegal and invalid. What will be the outcome?

With G.G. Sato’s support, Kiyota is still training for his comeback.
With G.G. Sato’s support, Kiyota is still training to make a comeback.
  • Photo. Courtesy of G.G. Sato

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