A Dallas jury ordered to the National Football League to pay almost $76,000 to compensate fans who had seating problems at Super Bowl XLV at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, but said the league but did not commit fraud, Jeff Mosier of The Dallas Morning News reports.
The plaintiffs’ attorney also asked Judge Barbara Lynn to issue a subpoena for the seating contractor, New York-based Seating Solutions, so Thursday’s verdict may not be complete.
A federal suit was filed by seven tickets holders, some of whom paid thousands of dollars for tickets, for the game between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers on Feb. 6, 2011, accusing the NFL of breaching its ticket contract and failing to fully compensate the fans.
Five of the seven fans who filed the lawsuit had seats that were completed, while two others said they had obstructed views and were suing for fraudulent inducement.
The NFL wanted to install 15,000 temporary seats for the game, but some of the seats were not completed in time. Then the league said that about 1,250 temporary seats could not be filled because they were deemed unsafe.
More than 850 ticket holders were forced to move to new seats and 400 others were moved to standing-room locations.
The league offered the 400 fans $2,400 plus a ticket to the 2012 Super Bowl; a trip to a future Super Bowl with airfare and a four-night hotel stay; a check for $5,000; or a check for more than $5,000 with documented expenses. That proposal was rejected when the plaintiffs filed the lawsuit.
The Dallas Cowboys and owner/general manager Jerry Jones were dropped from the suit in 2012, but Jones was forced to testify.
Jones said he regretted that the fans were inconvenienced and testified that the NFL rejected his recommendation to sell the standing-room tickets the same way the Cowboys do for its home games.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also said the NFL was to blame for the ticket mess during his hour-long taped deposition, adding that it was the league’s “responsibility to produce it in a positive way and make sure we deliver on our promise.”
- Scooby Axson