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New York Jets Fans’ Suit Thrown Out of Federal Court

Carl Mayer

Carl Mayer

Many NFL football fans have been disappointed in their team’s performance at one point or another.  That doesn’t mean that said fans should be able to go out and sue their team or other teams for the conduct of a teams personnel or coaching staff for actions not causing actual damages to fans.  One New York Jets Fan thought differently.  Carl Mayer, a Jets season ticket holder and solo attorney from Princeton N.J. thought it would be a good idea to sue New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick and the NFL over the infamous taping of Jets signals by the Patriots back on September 9, 2007.

As a young lawyer I thought to myself what kind of lawyer would even consider taking a case that seems impossible to win.  For a plaintiff to win a case, they must suffer some sort of damages.  I don’t see how Mayer could have incurred any kind of damages simply from being a fan of a NFL team that was cheated against.  Luckily for Mayer, he is a solo attorney himself and can incur the financial responsibility of bringing a case in federal court himself.  He also cannot get anybody else in trouble for bringing a frivolous claim in which the courts may impose sanctions against an attorney if they deem proper. 

Mayer claimed the videotaping “violated the contractual expectations and rights of New York Jets ticket-holders who fully anticipated and contracted for a ticket to an honest match played in compliance with all laws, regulations and NFL rules.”  Mayer also claimed tortuous interference with contractual relations and violations of the state Consumer Fraud Act, Deceptive Business Practices Act and Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act.  Mayer sought statutory, punitive and compensatory damages, restitution, equitable relief and attorneys’ fees on behalf of fellow season ticket-holders.

It is not the best time to be a lawyer these days with the economy in shambles, but Mr. Mayer must have had way too much time on his hands.  The costs of bringing such a case and lost income due to time spent on this case far exceeds any damages (the costs of season tickets) that he could expect to receive.  The Federal Court ruled that the seller of tickets to an entertainment event “does not contract to provide the spectacle, only to license the plaintiff to enter and view whatever event transpires.”

If this suit were allowed to continue fans would be suing their teams for every bone head personnel or coaching mistake that occurred on a field or court in any sport.  The legal Court dockets are backed up with cases that actually matter; I really hope that Mr. Mayer does not appeal this case.  If a fan is not interested in a team or league don’t go to the games or watch on T.V. That is a much easier and economical solution to filing a federal lawsuit. 

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Richard J. Symmes, Esq
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