Contracts Headline Sports Law

Simms and Dolabi, et al. v. Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys, NFL

On February 8, 2011, Mike Dolabi and Steve Simms filed a Class Action Complaint against multiple Defendants, including those listed in the title of this post.  The lawsuit has become known as the “Super Bowl Ticket Lawsuit,” and the Plaintiffs claim to represent a class of over 100 members and seek in the aggregate more than $5,000,000 exclusive of costs and interest.

The Plaintiffs have 4 claims of relief:

  1. Breach of Contract
  2. Breach of the Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing
  3. Fraud, Deceit and Concealment
  4. Violations of Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act

I think the biggest problem that this Class Action will have is actually establishing the Class.

Rule 42 of Texas’ Rules of Civil Procedure establish the necessary elements for the proper formation of a Class in the pleadings stage of litigation:

  1. The class is so numerous that joinder of all members is impracticable
  2. There are questions of law, or fact common to the class
  3. The claims or defenses of the representative parties are typical of the claims or defenses of the class, and
  4. The representative parties will fairly and adequately protect the interests of the class.

Roughly 400 fans were unable to sit in their purchased/received seats based on a serious error made by the Defendants.  Separately, certain Dallas Cowboys season ticket owners known as “Founders” were not awarded the type of seats (based on the view of the field) they believed they were promised ahead of time.  The Complaint states that there are “hundreds” of Founders, including named Plaintiff, Dolabi, who were inconvenienced and damaged by this mishap.  But are these not two separate Classes for the purpose of Class Certification?

As the Complaint suggests, the NFL and Jerry Jones quickly admitted blame for 400 fans not being able to watch the Super Bowl from their proper seats.  Many of these fans traveled from various parts of the country, spent money on hotel, food, etc. and specifically came to watch one of the two teams participating (the Steelers or the Packers).  An argument may be made that no monetary compensation would make up for the damage caused.  However, Defendants have taken multiple measures to aim to compensate the 400 fans for their loss.  I believe that a judge would take that into consideration if deciding damages.