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Lawsuit filed over SB tickets snafu

A section of seats at Cowboys Stadium remain

A section of seats at Cowboys Stadium remain empty before the start of Super Bowl XLV in Arlington, Texas. The seats were deemed unsafe. (Feb. 6, 2011) Photo Credit: AP

In the first of what could be several lawsuits filed in the wake of Super Bowl Sunday's ticket snafu at Cowboys Stadium, Cowboys fan Mike Dolabi has sued the NFL, the Cowboys and team owner Jerry Jones, per Bloomberg News.

Dolabi has sued on behalf of himself and other fans, who said they had paid at least $100,000 for personal seat licenses (PSLs) at Cowboys Stadium and were promised seats at Super Bowl XLV with "the best sightlines in the stadium," according to the complaint filed yesterday in federal court in Dallas.

Dolabi and several other fans showed up to the stadium to see that their seats were "temporary metal fold-out chairs" installed in an attempt to break a Super Bowl attendance record, according to the complaint.

"The NFL and Jerry Jones sold something to fans they weren't able to deliver and they knew they weren't able to deliver it," said Michael J. Avenatti of Eagan Avenatti LLP in Newport Beach, Calif., who represents the plaintiffs. 

The league, the Cowboys and Jones are being sued for breach of contract, fraud, breach of good faith and violating Texas' deceptive trade practices law. The plaintiffs are seeking more than $5 million in damages, which can be tripled under the state's trade law. 

The NFL had no immediate comment.

The NFL, which knew last week there could be a problem seating 400 ticket holders because some temporary seats hadn't passed safety inspections, has offered those fans triple the face value of their tickets - $2,400 - and a ticket to next year's Super Bowl. The league has also offered ticket holders who couldn't make it into the game the choice of attending a future Super Bowl.

Even if the seats had been available, the game wouldn't have set an attendance record. The game was attended by 766 fewer fans than the record 103,985 fans who saw the 1980 Super Bowl at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. The attendance figure at Sunday's game included more than 12,000 credentialed attendees, including more than 5,000 media members. It is customary not to include media members in attendance figures.

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