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Displaced Super Bowl fans seek lost income

| Wednesday, June 22, 2011

DALLAS — Super Bowl ticket-holders displaced in February during the seating fiasco at Cowboys Stadium said Tuesday in a court filing they should be compensated for lost income on top of the other expenses they incurred.

Ticket holders who lost their seats or had obstructed views "at a very minimum" should be paid for lost income suffered as a result of traveling to suburban Arlington, according to a document filed in response to a motion by the Dallas Cowboys and the NFL seeking to dismiss the class action lawsuit.

The lawsuit was filed after 1,250 temporary seats were declared unsafe just hours before the game between the Steelers and Packers. It says 475 ticket holders were forced to watch from standing-room locations while others were relocated, causing them to miss part of the game won by Green Bay.

Another group of fans suffered because they learned upon arrival at the stadium that they had seats with obstructed views, the suit contends.

The NFL said last month in its motion to have the suit dismissed that it satisfied its obligations to the displaced fans by offering them the actual prices they paid for their tickets as well as all documented travel, lodging and meal expenses.

A league spokesman said it would have no comment on the plaintiffs' latest filing.

Michael Avenatti, a Los Angeles attorney representing the ticket holders, said he expects to take the depositions of NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Cowboys owner Jerry Jones before the end of the summer.

"The law permits the fans to receive 100 percent of their damages, and we intend on recovering just that," Avenatti said.

The ticket holders' filing said there is nothing on record to prove that all eligible fans received settlement offers from the NFL. Moreover, the offers had too many strings attached, including caps on the amount of compensation for meals and lodging, the filing said.

"Defendants' so-called settlement offers do not come close to making plaintiffs whole," the filing said.

The filing also reiterated the ticket holders' claim that the NFL and the Cowboys knew before the game that the temporary seats weren't ready and amounted to fraud.

"Defendants instead threw a 'Hail Mary pass' and hoped, by some miracle, the problems would somehow solve themselves and legitimate seats would magically appear," the filing said, citing e-mail and other documents publicly released by the city of Arlington after the game.

The NFL and the Cowboys said in their motion that they didn't know until just before kickoff that the seats were inadequate and that work on them continued into the afternoon on the day of the game.

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