Super Bowl Ticketholders Renew Claims Against Cowboys Over Missing Seats

Fans displaced from their seats at February’s Super Bowl renewed their claims against the National Football League and Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who hosted the game at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The amended complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Dallas followed a ruling by U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn last month that removed Jones and the Cowboys from the lawsuit. The judge permitted the ticketholders to amend their case against Jones and the league.

Because of problems with temporary seating, about 475 ticketholders had to watch the NFL title game between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers on video screens. A group of 2,821 were given new seats or kept waiting outside the stadium, according to court papers. The league and Jones said the refund offers they made were legally adequate and more than what the fans were entitled to.

The new complaint lists seven claims against the NFL, Jones and the Cowboys, including fraudulent inducement, breach of contract, negligent representation and deceptive trade practices. It seeks more than $5 million, exclusive of costs and interest.

“We are reviewing their attempt to resurrect these claims in the amended lawsuit and will respond in due course, likely with a further motion to dismiss,” Brian McCarthy, a league spokesman, said in an e-mail. “But the suggestion that the NFL somehow defrauded fans has no merit.”

Brett Daniels, a spokesman for Jones and the Cowboys, declined to comment on the filing.

‘Seating Problems’

When she dismissed the claims against Jones last month, Lynn said: “The fact that the Super Bowl was held at Cowboys Stadium and that Jerry Jones stated afterward that he accepted responsibility for the seating problems does not mean that the Cowboys defendants became parties to a contract between the NFL and the plaintiffs.”

According to the new complaint, Jones said the sale of Super Bowl tickets was like “a shark hitting red meat.”

“We’re thinking of selling more tickets. I know this: However many we print, people will buy,” the complaint quotes him as saying.

The plaintiffs say that NFL and Jones concealed known problems with the temporary seats to avoid public-relations problems before the game

“We have now provided over 40 paragraphs in the complaint detailing the who, what, when and where of the fraud perpetrated on the fans,” Michael Avenatti of Eagan Avenatti LLP, lead counsel for the ticketholders, said in an e-mail. “We have also now provided the why -- money.”

The case is Simms v. Jones, 3:11-cv-00248 U.S. District Court, Northern District of Texas (Dallas).

To contact the reporter on this story: Tom Korosec in Dallas at tkorosec@sbcglobal.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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