Appeals court blocks $185-million suit by Jets fan over Spygate
The fan - would it surprise you to learn he's a lawyer? - sued Bill Belichick and the Patriots under federal racketeering and New Jersey consumer-protection laws, alleging the team's taping of opponents deprived him of the full value of his season tickets to Jets games.
But the judges of the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia said he'd get no Hail Mary Pass from them.
While the judges acknowledged the difficulty of deciding the case because "simply put, no one in the past has ever brought a legal action quite like this one," they found a variety of decisions from other courts that basically held fans cannot sue over poor decisions by team management (in one case, a judge reasoned that the answer for Cubs fans upset by perpetual suckiness is not the courts but switching their allegiances to the White Sox) and that his rights were spelled out on his tickets:
At best, he possessed nothing more than a contractual right to a seat from which to watch an NFL game between the Jets and the Patriots, and this right was clearly honored. ... Here, Mayer undeniably saw football games played by two NFL teams. This therefore is not a case where, for example, the game or games were cancelled, strike replacement players were used, or the professional football teams themselves did something nonsensical or absurd, such as deciding to play basketball.
The court threw Mayer for an extra penalty by noting that teams and players routinely engage in other potentially dishonest practices - from employing lip readers to pick up signs to players remembering plays when they get traded - and that he did not contest those.
The court did pointedly refuse to condone Belichick's actions, but said Mayer's recourse is to refuse to go to any more NFL games or buy league merchandise.