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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gaming the Super Bowl litigation

Slate has a nice piece (including an interview with SCOTUSBlog's Tom Goldstein) gaming out the options for fans seeking some sort of compensation over Super Bowl seating. It now appears that there are three groups of disgruntled fans: 1) Those denied seats altogether; 2) Those moved into nose-bleed seats; and 3) a group of about 1100 fans who were delayed coming in because several gates were not available because of weather problems. And there are three options: 1) $ 2400 and a transferable ticket to next year's Super Bowl; 2) a non-transferable ticket to any future Super Bowl; and 3) Join the lawsuit (which Goldstein believes will settle for about what the NFL is already offering). The piece then goes on to suggest the best option for various groups of fans.

It also includes an interview with Michael Aventatti, the attorney representing the class-action litigants. He explains that the $2400 offer was not a good deal, since tickets were going for far more than face value (and the NFL knew this), so tickets and accommodations ran more than $ 2400. We knew that, which is why the unseated fans have a good claim for breach of contract. The nosebleed fans less so--their only damages would seem to be the difference in the value of where they were seated as opposed to what they expected to get. And the fraud claim appears to be based on the NFL knowing before Sunday that the seats would not be available--although it is not clear that the league could have done anything about that before then (which will be a key element to the fraud claim). Anyway, I still don't buy the fraud claim and I still am not sure the nosebleed fans are entitled to nearly as much compensation as they are seeking. But, as Goldstein pointed out, the thing is going to settle--probable for a ticket to a future game.

Posted by Howard Wasserman on February 12, 2011 at 08:30 AM in Current Affairs, Howard Wasserman, Sports | Permalink


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