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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Lawsuits filed over Super Bowl seats fiasco

DALLAS — The NFL has sweetened its offer to Super Bowl ticket holders whose seats weren’t completed in time for Sunday’s game. That, however, didn’t stop the first lawsuits from being filed, little more than 48 hours after Super Bowl XLV ended.

The NFL initially offered about 400 fans without seats triple the face value of their $800 tickets and a ticket to next year’s Super Bowl in Indianapolis. That ticket would be transferable. On Tuesday, those inconvenienced fans were given a second option: a free, nontransferable ticket of the fan’s choice to a future Super Bowl — plus round-trip airfare and lodging.

The first lawsuit was filed in federal court just hours after the league’s announcement Tuesday, and a second was filed Wednesday afternoon in Dallas County. The lawsuits named the Dallas Cowboys, team owner Jerry Jones and the National Football League as defendants.

Cowboys spokesman Brett Daniels and NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy both declined to comment Wednesday about legal action related to Super Bowl tickets. At a Monday press conference, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell dismissed the threat of litigation.

“”We’re more concerned with making sure we take care of the fans in an appropriate way, and that’s what we’re going to focus on,”” he said.

In the Dallas County case, the plaintiffs are Ken Laffin and David Wanta, both Packers fans from the Green Bay area, according to their attorney. The lawsuit filed by Dallas-based Goldfarb Branham claims the men were “”damaged by the Defendants’ misrepresentations, omissions, and concealment of the cruel truth, which was that they had been sold tickets for seats that did not exist at the time and that were never to be had.””

About 1,250 seats at Cowboys Stadium couldn’t be completed in time for the Super Bowl. Fans with about 850 of those tickets were located to other seats inside the stadium, but about 400 couldn’t. They were allowed to remain in the stadium, but many could see the game only from video monitors.

In the federal case, plaintiffs Mike Dolabi, who lives in Tarrant County, and Steve Simms, a Pennsylvania resident, are asking for $5 million for two very different reasons.

The first claim is that Cowboys season ticket holders — including Dolabi — with the priciest seats received inadequate tickets for the Super Bowl. According to the filing, “”almost all of these seats lacked any reasonable view of the stadium’s prized ‘video board,’ which Defendant Jones and the Cowboys routinely claim is the one of the most unique and best features of Cowboys Stadium.””

Simms was one of 400 fans whose seats were not completed in time for the game and didn’t have a replacement seat.

The lawyer representing the plaintiffs, Michael Avenatti of Los Angeles-area Eagan Avenatti, declined to say how many ticket holders he currently represents. Avenatti would only described the number as “”many”” and said he expected to eventually have 1,000 clients.

“”When you have information that is important for people to have when deciding whether to attend the Super Bowl and you don’t disclose it, that’s fraud,”” Avenatti said.

This might not be the last. At least one other law firm and a couple of websites are rounding up contact information for angry fans.

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