Jets fan sues Pats, seeks $184 million
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Sports Writer
Sep 29, 3:31 AM EDT
NEW YORK (AP) -- A New York Jets season-ticket holder filed a class-action
lawsuit Friday against the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick for
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., by Carl Mayer of
Princeton Township, N.J., stems from the Patriots being caught illegally
videotaping signals from Jets coaches in New England's 38-14 season-opening
win Sept. 9.
"They violated the integrity of the game," Mayer's attorney, Bruce Afran,
told The Associated Press. "This is a way of punishing Belichick and the
Mayer is seeking more than $184 million in damages for Jets ticket holders.
Belichick was fined $500,000 by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and the team
was fined $250,000 for violating a league rule that prohibits clubs from
using a video camera on the sidelines for any purpose - including recording
signals relayed to opposing players on the field. New England also must
forfeit a first-round draft pick next year if it makes the playoffs or a
second- and third-rounder if it doesn't.
"They were deceiving customers," said the 48-year-old Mayer. "You can't
The lawsuit maintained that because other teams found illegal videotaping by
the defendants, Jets ticket holders should be compensated for all games
played in Giants Stadium between the Jets and Patriots since Belichick
became head coach in 2000.
The two calculated that because customers paid $61.6 million to watch eight
"fraudulent" games, they're entitled to triple that amount - or $184.8
million - in compensation under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt
Organization Act and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
"How many times have the Patriots done this? We find it hard to believe they
did it just once," Mayer said. "We just want to get to the truth of the
matter of what the Patriots did to the Jets. I think the ticket holders are
genuinely concerned about it. This is a type of misrepresentation."
Patriots spokesman Stacey James declined to comment on the lawsuit.
Mayer and Afran, who consider themselves public interest lawyers, have been
thorns in the side of New Jersey politicians for years, filing lawsuits and
demanding investigations to advance their grievances. They are well known in
the state but generally have had little success in their causes.
Both have lost bids for elected offices, and Mayer once served as a
presidential campaign adviser to Ralph Nader.
Their demand in March for a probe of Gov. Jon S. Corzine's gifts to a former
girlfriend was rejected by a federal prosecutor. In 2006, a judge vetoed
their effort to block Corzine's appointment of Rep. Robert Menendez, D-N.J.,
to fill the governor's seat in the U.S. Senate.
They also failed to get a court to order a special election to replace Gov.
James E. McGreevey when he resigned in 2004.
Now, they're taking on the Patriots.
Their latest lawsuit asserted that the secret videotaping violated the
contractual "expectations and rights" of Jets ticket holders "to observe an
honest match played in compliance with all laws and regulations."
The actions of Belichick and the Patriots violated federal and state
racketeering laws, as well as the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and New
Jersey Deceptive Business Practices Act, according to the lawsuit.
"Having been a lifelong Jets fan, as soon as I heard this, I was completely
outraged," Mayer said. "The NFL just slapped them on the wrist. I'm a
consumer lawyer, and this is consumer fraud."
Associated Press Writer Jeffrey Gold in Newark, N.J., contributed to this
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