Class action includes Cowboys PSL owners

On Wednesday, a Los Angeles firm filed the first lawsuit arising from the seating fiasco at Super Bowl XLV.  With the help of our friends at KXAS, the NBC affiliate in Fort Worth, we’ve obtained a copy of the complaint.

The named plaintiffs are Steve Simms and Mike Dolabi.  Simms, a Pennsylvania resident, purchased one of the 400 tickets that didn’t translate to a seat in the stadium.  Dolabi, a Texas resident, obtained the right to buy tickets to the Super Bowl via his purchase of a $100,000 Personal Seat License along with season tickets to Cowboys games.

And that’s the eye-opener.  First reported by Kevin Armstrong of the New York Daily News and mentioned earlier today on PFT Live, PSL owners and season-ticket holders reportedly paid $1,200 per seat to attend the Super Bowl, and per the complaint they allegedly had obstructed views and “temporary metal fold out chairs.”  The seats also allegedly “lacked any reasonable view of the stadium’s prized ‘video board,’ which Defendant [Jerry] Jones and the Cowboys routinely claim is one of the most unique and best features of Cowboys Stadium.”

The specific number of Cowboys season-ticket holders affected by the allegedly substandard seats and sight lines isn’t identified.  At paragraph 4.6, the complaint alleges that “most” of the Cowboys season-ticket holders who purchased Super Bowl tickets received, as described in paragraph 4.10, “obstructed and illegitimate seats.”

The thrust of the case still seems to be the 400 who bought tickets to the game but were denied admission.  The complaint scoffs at the offer of a triple refund and a free ticket to next year’s Super Bowl (the NFL has since expanded the offer to provide a ticket to any future Super Bowl), explaining that “this monetary sum is wholly insufficient to compensate Plaintiffs for all of their expenses, including but not limited to travel costs, or for their disappointment and frustration in not being able to properly enjoy the Super Bowl” and that “triple the face value does not in many cases begin to approach the cost of the tickets paid by many class members.”

The case seeks financial damages under four legal theories:  breach of contract; breach of the “covenant of good faith and fair dealing” (that’s legalese for an implied promise that one side to a transaction won’t try to unfairly screw the other side); fraud, deceit, and concealment, arising from the admitted failure to advise the 400 ticket holders of the possible unavailability of their seats and from the alleged failure to inform the Cowboys season-ticket holders that they’d be getting lesser accommodations than those to which they were accustomed; and violations of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act.

The lawsuit seeks compensation for all financial losses (travel expenses, lodging, etc.) arising from a trip to the Super Bowl that didn’t result in actually attending the Super Bowl in the seats that were purchased, treble damages under the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act, and attorneys’ fees.  The complaint also seeks an award of punitive damages, a controversial tool for punishing intentional wrongdoing and for deterring the defendants and others from engaging in similar behavior in the future.

Omitted from this class action are the 850 ticket holders who supposedly received comparable or better seats in lieu of the seats they purchased.  As MDS pointed out earlier tonight, accounts contradicting the “comparable or better” allegation are emerging.  Unless the current class action is amended, any potential legal rights of those folks will have to be pursued via a separate lawsuit.

We’ll continue to follow this case as it develops.  NFL executive V.P. of business ventures Eric Grubman is scheduled to join PFT Live on Thursday to discuss the situation.

44 responses to “Class action includes Cowboys PSL owners

  1. Good. It should be illegal to provide a bait and switch scam. I love football, but greed from ownership and players may possibly bring down the game. Ticket prices are astronomically high anyway.

  2. What has the world come to when the “obstructed” view isn’t stuck behind some pillar or post that watching the action on the field, its the inability to see a giant TV in the sky.

    Which leads into the “deceptive trade practices” act they are trying to invoke.

    The NFL screwed up by not having things set for game day, but once the error occured where are you going to move 1250 orphaned and already upset fans in a sold out stadium, each of who’s perception of what a “equal or better” seat is, varies between each of them, and is clouded by their anger/annoyance?

    Take your prize, sell it or use it for a future superbow, pat yourself on the back for being so litigious and trying to stick it to the “man” and move on.

  3. When you buy a ticket it has a clause that you might not get to see the game because of an act of nature or something horrific like that.

    However, it doesn’t say you might not get to see the game because Jerry Jones didn’t hire a project manager who was able to get your seat installed.

    Looking at Super Bowl week, and all of the huge, huge, huge screw-ups by Jerry Jones and his management team, I am amazed the Cowboys are a financially solvent organization.

  4. Hope you enjoyed your one and only Super Bowl, Jer.

    You gave it a shot, not a very good one but a shot nonetheless.

  5. The silver lining here may be that Jerry will be forced to hire a real GM so he can handle this mess.

  6. Proving intentional deceit will be pretty hard but the NFL and Jerry will settle this as quickly as possible. I think that stadium is cursed.

  7. It would be nice to see consequences for the cumulative behavior that went into creating the Altamont Superbowl.

  8. This is when you are truly at your best Mike. I want you on this and the CBA like white on rice.

    Gotta be honest that I’m not a huge fan of when you try to be a football guy (leave that to the cats at football outsiders), but when you dive into this stuff you’re the best. Keep us updated. Any chance the 400 ticket holders win the rights to Dez Bryant?

  9. Knowing that Jerry Jones and Roger Goodell are going to get sued for presenting a less than satisfactory Super Bowl experience just warms my heart.

    Both of them have been behind the trashing of football for years. Who knows maybe there is a little justice in the world?

  10. And I’m sure NFL executive V.P. of business ventures Eric Grubman will be completely and totally honest about everything on the show — You really do have to take anything Eric Grubman says or any of what these NFL pathological liars say with a grain of salt (make that a big pile of salt in this case)

  11. I think it will be hard for them to get the class certified as written. The 400 individuals who were denied seating and Cowboys’ season ticket holders that had seats with obstructed view are not similar enough to be joined into one class.

    Why would the lawyers even lump those two groups together? Did they have trouble finding enough plaintiffs for the case? And if so, then why bother?

  12. Let me get this straight: They paid $100,000 for a license for a seat Plus paying for each game, and when the big game comes, they purchase their ticket and they don’t get to sit in the licensed seat, but are given a different, inferior seat?

    That is insane.

    I hope between all these lawsuits, that the NFL comes out losers for this SB. They don’t deserve to make a profit on this game the way they f***ed over fans.

  13. the only people who are going to win with this lawsuit are the lawyers.

    they should have taken one of the options and run with it..

  14. ” …and when the big game comes, they purchase their ticket and they don’t get to sit in the licensed seat, but are given a different, inferior seat?”

    And this is where the lawsuit falls apart. The policies are in writing BEFORE the sale of those select “founders club” field-level, 50-yard line tickets go thru, so the buyer KNOWS what to expect. Crying foul after the fact isn’t going to convince any juries.

  15. The downside to this is that the ambulance chasing lawyer can screw these people over. If the lawsuit fails, the league can deny their previous offer, due to a no-fault finding in court. If greed is the title of this story, then the lawyer is the continuation of the theme. Any word on what the law offices are getting? Are they capping their gain? I seriously doubt it.

    Keep chasing those ambulances, Mikey.

  16. It seems the root cause is the NFL and the Cowboys did not get the Fire Marshall’s approval before, and hence a big possibility the Fire Marshall played big shot and closed them down. Anyone else on here ever deal with a Fire Marshall?

    Secondly, the lack of as another writer observed a project manager to oversee the seat installation process is a huge error, as is not having a seasoned ticket person making sure it is done. Any ticket person with experience knows NOT to sell tickets that are not installed and if that means checking the seats in the stadium as they are installed, so be it. Eric Grubman, has gained all his football business operations with the NFL and has never rolled up his sleeves to help with the nitty gritty.

    Once Mr. Grubman and crew were informed that the seats did not exist, why did they not take corrective action?

    The League allowed more non sold out games in years under the direction of Mr. Grubman, and this just caps off a great season for him and his crew.

    I hope that Mr. Goodell is embarressed enough to realize what bozos he has in this area and brings someone else in to clean it up!

    Lawsuit?? I think they have a winner!

  17. FOX interviewed some packers fans that didn’t even get to see the field but watched on the ginormous screen and they said they were allowed on the field immediately after the award ceremony during player interviews. They said it was a once in a lifetime experience being right there during the interviewing and only said “it might have been different if the packers had lost”…IOW, count on all the whining names on the lawsuit joining the confused “founders club” idiots being sad-sack steeler fans…

  18. jerry and the nfl deserve this. they can’t be putting lawn chairs out and keep charging a grand for them. its immoral. I hope they burn in court.

  19. Wouldn’t it be something if the judge presiding over this case ruled that Jerry Jones/Cowboys stadium were banned from hosting another Superbowl? That would be epic.

  20. Yep … a hundred large just doesn’t get ya’ what it used to, and that includes a luxury Super Bowl experience.

    Okay … so the view was obstructed … and yes, you had to sit on a folding chair … but DANG bubba! At least the chair was padded!!

    It’s gonna be a cold day in hell when the owners open their books for the purpose of negotiating a deal with the players’ union!

  21. Word out on the street is that Jones has retained the services of the legal team of “Dewey, Cheatam and Howe” (credit to the guys at “Car Talk”) to represent him in court…

  22. And this Goodell led group would have you believe they are bargaining in good faith with the players union????? Not a chance. I hope the lawsuit is successful and the No Fun League takes a big financial hit. DUMP GOODELL…HE’S NO GOOD FOR THE GAME!

  23. This is about the fans and how the fans were treated. This needs to play out in court so that precedents will be set.

    I personally am sick of fans being the little dog in the fight.

    Billionaires 32

    Players 1500

    Fans 32,000,000

  24. Reports are saying that Jerry Jones, the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys have filed suit in federal district court against NBC, and Fike Mlorio for slander, liable and continued speculation that resulted in its loyal followers to have a distorted view of the truth due to its hatred of the NFL owners, the Dallas Cowboys and Jerry Jones. After reading 250 stories essentially claiming the same thing and distorting any view of the truth, the plaintiffs feel there is no way in hell that they can receive any fair litigation.

    More news to follow.

  25. I wonder where 850 comparable or better seats materialized from in a sold out event. It’s not bad enough that they knew about all of this in advance and decided to just let the people make the trip anyway and they would sort it out in good old NFL fashion, “they’ll take what we give ’em and like it.” This time it didn’t work out like that. It is heartening to see consumers fight back against a corporation that has had it’s customers under it’s boot for far too long. The NFL thinks that the game is now bigger than the customers. The treatment that these people recieved is more than enough evidence of that. That is the fault of elitists like Goodell and billionowners think that a thin gesture like passing up his salary until there is a labor settlement is a sacrifice for him. It’s always the little guy who is asked to sacrifice. Not to get on a soapbox here, but think about this. When the Fed bailed out the big banks who acted criminally in gambling on speculative investments, those banks turned right around and started foreclosing on homes of customers who because of the financial crisis, lost their jobs. This lawsuit is a great way to publicly demonstrate that everyday folks still have a voice. I hope they get everything they are suing for and give the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys organization a well-deserved punch in the mouth.

  26. this is all because of jerry jones EGO! he wanted to break the attendance record! goodell (a.k.a.) pinnochio went along with it! big $$$$$$$

  27. Here’s some news for you, and proof the lawyers are set to hose the fans: the lawsuit is claiming a total of $5mil in restitution. The lawyers are going to devour at LEAST 20-25% of that. The end result will be $3.8-4mil to divide amongst the 1,400 people (400 displaced + 1,000 season ticket holders). If evenly distributed, that’s $2,700-2,800 per person. Now look at the league’s offer: (a) a free SB ticket (transferrable) for next year + $2400 or (b) a free SB ticket (non-transferrable) + transportation + lodging for a future SB at the fan’s discretion. The SB ticket face value will be minimum $800, so option (a) is $3200 minimum (we know you can sell them MUCH higher than face value) or (b) a package that also appears to be in the $3000-4000 value range (maybe more if lodging prices get inflated in the chosen city). So who wins? Ask the writer of this blog, he knows: it’s the lawyers who win…and everyone else loses. If you think the league will NOT withdraw their offer upon losing/winning this lawsuit, you are HIGH. The only people set to potentially win on this are the 850 people not getting lumped into this foolishness. Also, its at the judges discretion to increase or DECREASE the restitution amount based on his/her perception of things.

  28. When I read the part about about the guy who paid $100,000 for a personal seat license, I started to think to myself that maybe football isn’t for me anymore. I mean, I have no chance of ever being able to attend an NFL game due to the prohibitive cost. I’m sure that I am not alone on this issue. Not only that, but there is about to be a huge fight about money between two groups of billionaire and millionaire man-children, which will probably result in no football next season. I’m not so sure that it will be a bad thing. Maybe it will finally help me to see that I don’t need this distraction in my life anymore. Are you listening, commissioner?

  29. “triple the face value does not in many cases begin to approach the cost of the tickets paid by many class members.”

    So they bought a scalped ticket and they expect the NFL to do something about that?
    For me $1600 above the ticket price would have done me fine for travel, hotel and food.

  30. “When I read the part about about the guy who paid $100,000 for a personal seat license, I started to think to myself that maybe football isn’t for me anymore. I mean, I have no chance of ever being able to attend an NFL game due to the prohibitive cost.”

    Your feeling is not alone. The reason the PSL holders are NOT gauranteed their PSL seats for the SB (and instead only gauranteed an opportunity to purchase a more common seat) is logical. If they were given the right to a face-value 50-yard field-level seat, you’d see them reselling it at 300-400% face value, trying to take advantage of fans visiting the stadium. Oddly, its these greedy individuals that are angry they didn’t get a chance to cash in on the premium seats that are the core of the first lawsuit…and they are dragging the 400 legitimate plaintiffs with them. If those 400 were wise, they’d formally come together and disband from this lawsuit. I am really confused how they can even be treated under the same lawsuit, to be honest. Many of the 400 had no view of the field. All of the 1,000 PSL holders had field-view seats.

  31. “zaggs says:
    Feb 10, 2011 8:59 AM
    “triple the face value does not in many cases begin to approach the cost of the tickets paid by many class members.”

    So they bought a scalped ticket and they expect the NFL to do something about that?
    For me $1600 above the ticket price would have done me fine for travel, hotel and food.”

    You are dreaming. Superbowl hotel prices are jacked up. Flights are difficult to get and also expensive. Good luck with getting face value tix or eating cheap. It can be done but $1600 is wishful thinking. I’ve gone 3x and on the cheap, it can be done but not easily and not for $1600!
    BTW, teams sell package deals to their fans that can be in excess of $25k per person and usually start at $10k.

  32. NFL made there money and thousands of suckers will be willing to pay 3 or 4 times face value next year in Indy. Supply and demand.

  33. The NFL distributes tickets through their authorized scalper, Ticket Master. Anyone who thinks that a high percentage of Super Bowl tickets aren’t sold above face value is seriously delusional. The NFL is not delusional. They know this. They also know that a significant percentage of the 1250 were damaged far beyond 3X face value and a ticket to next years game.

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