After a Four-Year Fight, Plaintiffs in Dallas Super Bowl Lawsuit Set to Split $76k
On paper, the seven plaintiffs suing the NFL for their experiences at 2011's Jerryworld-hosted Super Bowl won. A Dallas jury agreed with the group -- and the NFL -- that the leagued breached its contract with the fans when they were either denied seats or switched to different seats at the game.
All seven plaintiffs had purchased tickets in temporary seating erected just for the Super Bowl, and two of them also made fraud claims against the league, saying the seats to which they were moved had obstructed views. The league said that they didn't, and, even if they did, the obstructed views wouldn't have constituted fraud.
The jury agreed, compensating each of the plaintiffs only for some expenses incurred during their trip. The biggest settlement, for about $22,000, went to a Rebecca Burgwin who asked for $35,000. The smallest, for $5,670 went to Dave Wenta.
The awards add up to $76,000, which means that somebody lost some money on the deal. According to a study from the Court Statistics Project, the average attorneys' fees in a contract lawsuit are $91,000, and this has been no average suit.
On Wednesday, an article from ESPN's Darren Rovell included quotes from Scott Suprina, the president of the company that installed the temporary seats, that suggested his testimony might have been influenced by the NFL.
The plaintiffs asked that deliberation in the case be stopped until an investigation into Suprina's testimony was completed. U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn didn't stop the trial, but she indicated she would let the investigation continue. Thursday, according to The Dallas Morning News' Jeff Mosier, she did not finalize the verdict, and told plaintiffs' attorney Michael Avenatti that she would give ample notice before she did.
Bruce Ibe, one of the plaintiffs, declined to comment, saying he'd been instructed not to do so by Avenatti because the case was still pending.