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Super Bowl class-action lawsuit expands

Super Bowl Football

Workers finish putting up seats on the west end of Cowboys Stadium before the NFL football Super Bowl XLV game between the Green Bay Packers and the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, Feb. 6, 2011, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)


When the first lawsuit arising from the Super Bowl seating fiasco was filed on Wednesday, two distinct classes were identified: (1) the 400 fans who had tickets but ultimately not seats; and (2) a group of Cowboys’ season-ticket holders known as the “Founders,” who purchased $1,200 tickets and allegedly received substandard views and/or seats.

The class has now expanded via the filing of an amended complaint, a copy of which PFT has obtained.

In addition to Steve Simms, who represents the 400, and Mike Dolabi, who represents the Cowboys’ season-ticket holders, Wes Lewis has joined the case as representative of the ticket-holders who were “unreasonably delayed, relocated or completely displaced from their seats at Super Bowl XLV as a result of the incomplete installation of temporary seats, which were deemed unsafe and unusable.”

The case now consists of those who did not get into the game (the “Displaced Class”), those who were moved to different seats and/or significantly delayed in gaining pre-game access to the seats due to problems with the installation of temporary seats (the “Relocated/Delayed Class”), and the Cowboys’ season-ticket holders who allegedly received substandard accommodations (the “Founders Class”).

The lawsuit also has expanded the legal theories, adding an allegation of “negligent misrepresentation” to the four prior claims (breach of contract, breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing, fraud/deceit/concealment, and violation of the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act). Under the “negligent misrepresentation” claim, the plaintiffs contend that the league, the Cowboys, and/or Jerry Jones failed to take reasonable steps to communicate to the three classes of customers true information about their assigned seats. In non-legalese, it means that the league inadvertently, and carelessly, allowed a false impression to be created about the quality of the accommodations.

The complaint filed by lawyer Michael Avenatti on behalf of the class action now encompasses all customers who believe they didn’t get what they paid a lot of money for when arriving at Cowboys Stadium for Super Bowl XLV. As to the 400 who didn’t get in, we continue to believe that the league should move swiftly to reimburse them all travel and lodging expenses and the actual cost paid for the ticket, along with something else for their trouble.

As to the other two classes, the situation becomes more complicated. Should folks who got to their seats later than they would have liked get a full refund and complete reimbursement for their travel and lodging expenses? Probably not. But they should get something, and the lawyers should work together to figure out what that something should be. Ditto for the Cowboys’ season-ticket holders who allegedly endured obstructed views and/or four-plus hours on a metal folding chair. They should get something, but not every penny that they spent to attend the game.

We continue to hope that both sides will be reasonable, and that both sides will move quickly and in good faith to resolve an incident that, frankly, has become even more embarrassing than the Jackson-Timberlake wardrobe malfunction of 2004.