Judge dismisses lawsuit against Cowboys over Super Bowl seats

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Fans who didn’t get their seats at last year’s Super Bowl can continue their lawsuit against the NFL, but the Dallas Cowboys are no longer defendants in the case.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn removed the Cowboys as defendants, saying that Super Bowl tickets are a contract between the buyers and the NFL, and that just because the game was played at Cowboys Stadium, that doesn’t make the Cowboys responsible for the fact that many temporary seats weren’t completed in time.

The attorney for the fans, Michael Avenatti, said he’s grateful the judge is allowing the case against the NFL to go forward.

“The Court rejected the NFL’s argument that there is no legitimate claim that the NFL committed fraud against any of its fans,” Avenatti said in a statement. “We look forward to presenting extensive evidence of the NFL’s fraud against its fans, and its breach of contract with the fans, to a jury. The law is clear, you cannot sell seats that do not exist nor can you defraud your fans by selling them first class seats when you know those seats are in reality located behind concrete pillars and posts.”

The NFL says it has already made a fair offer to the fans who were affected by the seating fiasco. The fans who were moved to other seats were offered refunds or a ticket to a future Super Bowl, while the ones who weren’t seated at all were offered their choice of a one-time payment of $5,000, or $2,400 and a trip to a future Super Bowl with airfare and hotel included. Most of the 3,200 fans affected accepted that offer, while the ones who didn’t accept are continuing their lawsuit against the NFL — but not against the Cowboys.

29 responses to “Judge dismisses lawsuit against Cowboys over Super Bowl seats

  1. Good. Finally a ruling I agree with. As much as Cowboy haters would love to pin anything and everything on them, you have to admit this was the NFL and the Superbowl Committee’s issue.

    Interested to see how the rest of the lawsuit shakes out.

  2. Exactly how it should have been, I’m sure some Cowboy hating trolls will say differently but facts are facts. The Super Bowl is a NFL league sponsered event with the NFL paying the money to host the event at the stadium. Jerry Jones had nothing to do with the seating fiasco. The idiot fans wanted to sue the NFL and Jerry Jones just to get money. Morons!

  3. If I took time off of work to travel to Dallas to watch a Super Bowl, my flight time and drive time alone exceeds the value of $5,000.00. Not to mention that you’ve got car rental, hotel, air fare, and time wasted involved.

    In addition, think about how unlikely it is that these fans will get to watch their team on a different Super Bowl. Many are likely to be dead before their team makes it back to the Super Bowl. Which means they’ll never be able to take advantage of the offer.

    Plus, the air fare and hotel will be crap. They’ll book you on a red-eye, coach flight that leaves two weeks before the game and a flight back on a propeller powered plane two weeks after. The motel will be bug-ridden roach motel hours from anything.

  4. If anything, this fiasco shows Cowboy Stadium to be an unsuitable venue for future Superbowls, and the Jerry Jones ownership ill-equipped to respond to the logistical demands of future Superbowls. Also, go Eagles.

  5. I know many reactions to this will be “People should stop crying, the NFL gave them a plenty fair offer.” Well, generally speaking, $5000 to go away probably IS fair–say you paid $1000 for the ticket, $600 for airfare and $400/night for hotel, etc.

    I guess my problem is for fans that likely were stuffed into these seats, they aren’t VIPs, execs, sponsors, independently wealthy, etc. It was probably a “once-in-a-lifetime” trip of sorts. It’s about “It’s worth spending the money because I REALLY wanted to see the Packers (or Steelers) in the Super Bowl!” So maybe they get their money back. But they still missed the game! The NFL failed. And $5000 to 3200 people is nothing. It does NOTHING to change the NFL’s culture on this. NOTHING to tell the NFL “You know, people love you, but you can’t just do whatever the F you want just because you’re the NFL.”

    To me failure must always be punished. And negligently, willful, purposeful failure especially so. If I were an affected party, I’d push until litigation options were exhausted or the NFL agreed to substantial settlement including a statement that went beyond “Gee, sorry for the bad experience.” It should say “We completely, entirely, utterly failed. We failed the only people that matter to make this game great.” It’s so unbelievably inexcusable it STILL makes me wild. And I wasn’t even there!

  6. The NFL is in charge of the entire Superbowl, from the events, to the ticket sales. Following the Superbowl very closely this last year in Indy (which was phenomenal, if you weren’t here don’t hate), the host city makes not a dime, just some great national exposure. One article at one time stated that the cost to the city at one point was at over 800,000 dollars and would end up costing more. So absolutely this is the NFL’s problem. The host Stadium cannot even have their home teams logo in the stadium (unless of course a home team actually hosts one someday). No reason to hate on any part of the cowboys, it sounds like the NFL got overly greedy, BUT, if the owner of the stadium over estimates the capacity to the NFL, is there any problem there?? Hmm, doesn’t matter, you still got to be at a Superbowl, and you get 2400 dollars, airfare, and hotel accomidations, sign me up! How much more can you really expect? Damn, greed, take the money and trip to another superbowl!!

  7. I worked at that Super Bowl that year, and i can tell you, 1st person that the whole event was one huge cluster fudge that the workers did their very best to attend to against impossible odds.. Jerry tried to set a record for attendance, and the seats in question were literally being put into place over the end zone (the one that opened up big enough to let a DC10 airplane roll through) until the very last minute.
    It happened because there was a huge ice storm, and the roof had been covered with a six inch thick blanket of sleet, snow, and hail, and game day, this solid sheet of ice suddenly let go and came in a huge avalanche down the sides of the stadium, crushing our merch tents, their work vehicles and scaffolding and many of those removable bleachers and chairs, which were stacked up in storage buildings that line the sides beside the concourse.
    There was nothing that cvould have been done to plan for, or prevent, or change the events and the fans who are still crying about it just did not care to see how hard the Cowboys’ crew worked to accommodate them against impossible odds.
    The debacle that followed the massive cleanup that started on Super Bowl morning left the crew with very little time to get seats into place, and they had been forced to use replacement seats that, in OSHA’s view, were not stable enough to hold the load, even though i can tell you with all certainty that they would have. But safety regulators are not known for their flexibility and understanding when extenuating circumstances occur and they shut down the entire end of the stadium seating that goes into place when they close the gap, leaving 1000 people without seats.
    JErry put these folks in luxury boxes, and still some refused, choosing to use the standing areas and the subsequent crowds to tey to watch the game live, rather than on the screens or in boxes.
    They are just crying foul, hoping to get some huge payday that isn’t going to happen, and all in all, they got free merch, food and drink, and watched the game with minimal inconvenience, and I do not feel sorry for them at all, nor should anybody else.
    An act of God was at fault, and supreme efforts were put forth to set it right, and that is all i have to say about that.

  8. “monkeyhateclean says:Jul 19, 2012 8:27 PM

    If anything, this fiasco shows Cowboy Stadium to be an unsuitable venue for future Superbowls, and the Jerry Jones ownership ill-equipped to respond to the logistical demands of future Superbowls. Also, go Eagles.”

    Haha. This coming from a fan whose team’s QB basically said he wants to be like the Cowboys of the 90s. Get back to me in 5 years and let me know how that “dynasty” is shaping up.

  9. Good. I’m not a fan of the Cowboys or their owner but to reward those who turned down a fair offer would have been ridiculous. They just got too greedy and had it thrown back in their faces.

  10. Disagree with the ruling. The Cowboys oversaw the seat fiasco and were blatantly trying to set the Super Bowl record at all costs. Which in the end, included fan safety. The courts may find the NFL responsible, but the Cowboys were every bit as responsible for that cluster as anyone.

  11. @monkeyhateclean, that’s an utterly stupid statement. I’m no cowboys fan, but that stadium, in its natural state is a world class facility. It’s amazing. The only problem was the nfl trying to add seats that didn’t fit the natural design. The knee jerk reaction, yours, would be to never have it there again. The reasonable solution would be to only use the natural seating…no extra temp seats.

  12. I seem to remember Jerry Jones saying he wanted to break the Super Bowl attendance record a few weeks before the game. NFL sold tickets that Cowboys Stadium said would be available.

    Given that, I would assume the company responsible for making sure the seats were there, whether it’s the local contractor or Cowboys Stadium controlling company (read: Jerry Jones), would be the people to aim a lawsuit at.

  13. lol – now the NFL lawyers can argue that it was all the Cowboys fault and that they had no control over the day to day operations of the stadium.

    Class catch-22 which spells bad news for the plantiffs.

  14. Whoever says that Cowboy stadium will never host another Superbowl is retarded.. Superbowl 50. Write it down

  15. Does anything about this fiasco really surprise anyone? Look at the parties involved. Dallas deserves Jerry Jones, the drunken ring master, and the circus called the Cowboys.

    Do you think this would’ve happened under Pete Rozell or Hank Stramm? At least they had some class.

    I’ll bet that Barbara nevers has problems getting Cowboy tickets in the future!

  16. @saints4evah

    Most of what you said is a complete lie and way off of the truth. I was at that Super Bowl and was one of the thousands that was affected by this epic screw up. While I have no doubt that the workers did their best to attend to the issue at hand, it was a complete mess and no one anything about what was going on.

    It started when we *attempted* to enter the stadium through the security and ticket check. Due to the ice falling off of the roof of the stadium, which happened days before not the day of like you said, they had to close down all but a couple of entrances. This caused HUGE lines to get in. After waiting in line for 3 hours to get in, we were met with a ticket checker telling us our tickets needed attention and that we had to go to the ticket remediation tent. Ok, sure. Sucks but whatever. So we ask where that is…nothing. she has no idea where it is or how to get there. Pissed off now, we leave the tent and start making our way around the stadium to find the remediation tent. EVERY worker we stopped to ask had no idea what we were talking about nor had any idea what was going on. We had to find an information book to figure out where this tent was, unacceptable.

    Finally getting to this tent, we were told that we had to go to a waiting area as our tickets had problems. Going to this ‘waiting’ area, we were herded in to a small area that was fenced in by chained link fence. Surrounding the outside of the fence were police and security presonnel…none of which had any idea what was going on. To top that off, there were snipers on the top of the stadium watching us. It was as if we had done something wrong by trying to get in to the stadium. 2 hours later and no more information shared, we were still there. Its about 30 minutes before the kickoff that we were finally let it. You would think they would tell us what was going on, but NO, NOTHING. We were left to wander around and figure out what was going on. Luckily, our seats were OK in the upper endzone temporary seats. Unlike what you said, the seats were put in, but were very shoddy. Loose and missing bolts all over. Unbelievable.

    As for those that did not get their seats, stating tht they got luxury boxes, free food and drink and were able to watch the game live and not on TV is complete BS. They were kept in a hospitality suite with TVs and no view of the game happening in the same stadium. No free food, drink, or merchandise was given to them. Instead they were forced to buy everything they wanted even though they were severly inconvenienced.

    While it was hard to predict what was going to happen with the ice and snow, there should have been more done. You cannot simply say that those affected should deal with it and move on. Many of the people that were affected were those that got their tickets through their season ticket lottery for the Steelers or Packers and where there to support their team and watch them win the Super Bowl. This is not easily replaced or duplicated and its never a sure thing for a team to return to the Super Bowl.

    I took their offer of free tickets to a future super bowl becuase I did not want to wait for the lawsuit to pan out, but they deserve to get something out of this. I spent thousands of dollars on this trip, including time away from work. $5,000 would not cover my expenses, let alone time lost at work. The NFL skimped on their offers and should have upped them to make better a poor situation.

    As for the seats not being installed due to the ice, the Cowboys knew weeks ahead of time that they were behind schedule and would not make the deadline for getting the seats installed. They had to work up to the last minute because they were behind schedule and could not complete in time. To say “with certainty” that the temporary seats would hold that were not approved is idiotic at best. If they were not approved for safety reasons, then they were not approved…and they should not be regardless of extenuating circumstances. Thats just plain stupidity to say they should have been used.

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