PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A federal judge has denied the NFL’s request to dismiss a civil lawsuit stemming from a seating debacle at Super Bowl XLV.
About 400 fans never got their seat inside Cowboys Stadium after a fire marshal ruled roughly 1,250 seats were unsafe.
Now, a law firm representing some of those fans in a civil lawsuit said it scored a win over the NFL in court.
Judge Barbara M.G. Lynn of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas, Dallas division denied the NFL’s request for dismissal of the case on Wednesday.
The NFL has already offered fans a couple of different reimbursement packages because of the problem.
In February, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said the reimbursement offer is for $5,000 or the reimbursement of “actual documented” Super Bowl expenses, whichever figure is higher.
Originally, the NFL had offered $2,400 and tickets to next year’s Super Bowl. Then, they increased the offer to any Super Bowl, plus travel and accommodation costs.
The NFL claimed that the reimbursement deal was a sufficient course of action to rectify the problem. However, the judge disagreed.
“For months, the NFL has attempted legal maneuver after legal maneuver to deny the fans what they are entitled to,” Michael Avenatti of Eagan Avenatti, LLP, lead counsel for the fans, said in a statement. “But in litigation, much like in football, you have to play four quarters. Now that the court has ruled, we look forward to learning from the executives of the NFL what they knew before the game and what they did about it, if anything.”
About 1,250 seats were declared unsafe hours before the game, and the NFL scrambled to find new seats for about 850 fans. The remaining 400 were forced to watch from standing-room only areas or on television from places with no view of the field.