NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — A man's lawsuit has offered a plausible legal argument that the National Football League's ticket policies for the 2014 Super Bowl at MetLife Stadium may have violated state consumer protection laws, a federal appeals court ruled Friday in reversing a lower court and allowing the case to move forward.
The ruling by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals handed a preliminary victory to a New Brunswick man who sued in 2014 after he claimed he spent $2,000 per ticket on the secondary market instead of the $800 face value because the NFL released only 1 percent of the tickets to the public through a lottery.
A lower court had ruled Josh Finkelman didn't have standing to bring the lawsuit.
Friday's ruling held that Finkelman "alleged sufficient factual allegations to show that Defendants' withholding raised the price that he paid for tickets on the secondary market" and that the matter should be resolved at trial. That will have to wait until New Jersey's Supreme Court reviews the case, the 3rd Circuit judges wrote Friday.
Attorney Bruce Nagel, representing Finkelman, said the NFL "violated the ticket sales law of New Jersey and now will be liable for hundreds of millions in damages."
An NFL spokesman said in an email Friday the league's policies didn't run afoul of the law.
"We remain confident that the NFL's distribution of tickets to Super Bowl XLVIII complied with New Jersey law — a position that the District Court in New Jersey has agreed with on two separate occasions — and look forward to presenting that position before the New Jersey Supreme Court," spokesman Brian McCarthy said.
The Seattle Seahawks beat the Denver Broncos 43-8 to win the Super Bowl.