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Judge allows Super Bowl ticket lawsuit to proceed

Super Bowl Football AP

As Super Bowl XLVI approaches, an embarrassing situation for the NFL regarding Super Bowl XLV still lingers.

And it possibly will linger for many more months.

On Wednesday, Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn denied an effort by the league and the Cowboys to dismiss a class action lawsuit filed by fans who showed up at Cowboys Stadium to find there weren’t chairs to go along with their tickets, due to an inability to complete the installation of temporary seating.  Specifically, Judge Lynn has allowed the breach of contract claim to proceed.

Per the Associated Press, the 10-page order concludes that the plaintiffs could be eligible for compensation far beyond that which the NFL offered in the wake of the debacle.

In response, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy tells PFT that the league’s offers to the fans exceeded what the law allows.

“For months, the NFL has attempted legal maneuver after legal maneuver to deny the fans what they are entitled to,” said Michael Avenatti of Eagan Avenatti, LLP, lead counsel for the displaced fans, in a statement released to PFT.  “But in litigation, much like in football, you have to play four quarters.  Now that the Court has ruled, we look forward to learning from the executives of the NFL what they knew before the game and what they did about it, if anything.”

Avenatti is referring to the discovery process, which will entail a series of depositions of high-level officials from the league office.

Other ancillary claims made by the plaintiffs were dismissed.  Avenatti said that Judge Lynn has allowed two of the other claims to be re-filed in a manner that complies with applicable requirements.  The NFL undoubtedly will file a new motion to dismiss those claims, once they are re-filed.

And so the process will continue to drag out, with the only question being whether this case will be resolved before the next Super Bowl that is played in Cowboys Stadium.

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18 Responses to “Judge allows Super Bowl ticket lawsuit to proceed”
  1. joetoronto says: Dec 1, 2011 11:03 AM

    I still can’t believe what a mess that was.

    That was bush league all the way.

  2. PFTiswhatitis says: Dec 1, 2011 11:18 AM

    Shame on Jones and the NFL for the way they handled the entire situation. I hope those fans get their payday.

  3. ravensruleandharbaughisgod says: Dec 1, 2011 11:19 AM

    Yes, it will be resolved by the next Super Bowl played in Cowboys Stadium. There is not one currently scheduled at this juncture so likely it will be at least 10 years, likely considerably longer, before Dallas gets another Super Bowl. Even the wheels of justice grind faster than that. Plus, it will almost certainly settle as the NFL is more than a little adverse to potential negative publicity such as this matter has engendered.

  4. steelersmichele says: Dec 1, 2011 11:20 AM

    After her ruling, Goodell fined Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn $15,000.

  5. olcap says: Dec 1, 2011 11:28 AM

    Hear the NFL and its owners tell the fans who got screwed at the pathetic Dallas Superbowl, “You unlucky people who paid your hard-earned money, don’t deserve to have justice for OUR inability to keep our word.” That’s what they said, basically, when they asked for the class-action to be dismissed.

    I am so over the greedy NFL and owners who think that they should be able to do whatever the hell they want, and to hell with the law.

    My personal NFL boycott continues. For those who continue to worship all things NFL, just remember, they only want your money and couldn’t care less about fans that, basically, got robbed by the NFL and the owners for their sorry excuse for an organization.

    I’m glad this judge slapped them down!

  6. localbandhero says: Dec 1, 2011 11:29 AM

    I wonder how much they’ll get out of their investment in those tickets? I mean there is a point that’s just ludicrous. Although it was a major blunder by the NFL.

    Although, realistically, that stadium is the “premier” stadium in the league, so they’ll probably have another one there in 6 or 7 years (maybe sooner, I think it’s a 5 year minimum). The ice/snow problems is basically a once a century thing in Dallas.

  7. dannyabramowitz says: Dec 1, 2011 11:32 AM

    This whole situation is a perfect representation of Roger Goodell’s tenure as commissioner, one foul-up after another. Say it to yourself slowly — the NFL sold tickets to the Super Bowl for seats which didn’t exist. Absolutely unbelievable! I hope the jury awards massive damages against the NFL.

  8. matteo1213 says: Dec 1, 2011 11:43 AM

    So instead of sitting in a bad seat, they got to go on the field and also get tickets to any future super bjork they choose. Wasn’t that enough, really? They got to experience something that most fans would never get to experience, being on the field at a super bowl and they feel they were slighted?

  9. brstevens says: Dec 1, 2011 11:58 AM

    I wonder how much they’ll get out of their investment in those tickets? I mean there is a point that’s just ludicrous. Although it was a major blunder by the NFL.

    You realize that “investment” was for a product that didn’t exist, right? I’m no lawyer, but as far as I can tell that constitutes fraud on the part of the seller. Again, no lawyer, but fraud is a pretty actionable offense, I’m sure.

  10. whereyaat says: Dec 1, 2011 12:31 PM

    The judge did not let them go to trial on fraud though, she only allowed the breach of contract claim to go forward. Breach of contract claims have limited damages, there won’t be any punitive damages in this one.

    I suspect this is going to be one of those cases where the plaintiffs’ attorney fees will rival the size of the actual award. The NFL could’ve saved money – and more importantly, publicity – by settling this suit long ago.

  11. lionsfanatic84 says: Dec 1, 2011 12:57 PM

    Wow, this just shows how the leadership in the NFL works. I’m appalled that they don’t seem to care about paying fans and their hard earned money, most of those fans make a tenth of what the league minimum wage is. Stay classy Jerry Jones and NFL

  12. britishraven says: Dec 1, 2011 1:04 PM

    I really can’t see what these people want

    Ok so you’ve got the expense of the ticket, the travel costs, the hotel + whatever else can reasonably be said to have been spent that week/weekend (food, drinks but NOT items like 10 x $400 meals +$20,000 champagne unless you have receipts to prove it).

    Outside of that, surely anything the NFL offer you is in “good faith”. I cannot see how “the opportunity to see my team” is a quantifiable experience, therefore how can you put a price on it?

    Is it really worth $1 million each for arguments sake? If so then there’s an argument that Superbowl tickets should cost $1 million.

  13. thetooloftools says: Dec 1, 2011 1:05 PM

    Looks like Jerry’s “Billion Dollar Barn” wasn’t up to the task. I must give the NFL credit though… unlike soccer games where they will just pile people in, they didn’t put the fans in unsafe seating. If it was Europe they would have just let them in and hope they were not killed when it collapsed.

  14. melikefootball says: Dec 1, 2011 1:08 PM

    Jones and the NFL deserve this, they got overly gready and tried to sweep it under the rug.

  15. britishraven says: Dec 1, 2011 1:08 PM

    With regard to the fraud argument. It’s my understanding that the city officials (fire safety from memory but I could be wrong) refused to issue a certificate just hours before the event.

    I accept that leaving it that late to get a certificate is amazingly disorganised at best, but I can’t really see what else the NFL/Cowboys could’ve done with a couple of hours notice.

    This is very different than if the NFL, or any other company, sells say 2 million tickets to an event that they know weeks/months/years in advance can only hold say 250,000 people.

  16. lgbarn says: Dec 1, 2011 1:12 PM

    Imagine if this was YOUR team. You never know when they will get back to the show. Not sure you can put a price on it. It’s a huge opportunity lost for those fans.

  17. twitter:Chapman_Jamie says: Dec 1, 2011 1:13 PM

    You’re just still pissed off you had to walk to the stadium on ice.

  18. granadafan says: Dec 1, 2011 5:12 PM

    “matteo1213 says:
    Dec 1, 2011 11:43 AM
    So instead of sitting in a bad seat, they got to go on the field and also get tickets to any future super bjork they choose. Wasn’t that enough, really? They got to experience something that most fans would never get to experience, being on the field at a super bowl and they feel they were slighted?”
    ===================================================

    While I agree with you about demanding too much for a wrong, you’re incorrect about being on the field. They had to go to a concourse area and watch from monitors. HUGE difference. Basically, they paid thousands to watch from TVs.

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