NFL and Hall of Fame Improperly Try to Settle Lawsuit

The NFL and Pro Football Hall of Fame are not getting off easy in the class action lawsuit brought against them for abruptly cancelling the Hall of Fame Game in early August. Ticket holders initially brought suit in Ohio when the NFL and Hall of Fame knew the preseason Hall of Fame Game between the Green Bay Packers and Indianapolis Colts would not be played, but yet “allowed and encouraged fans to continue to purchase food, beverages, and souvenirs at the stadium as they waited for a game that would never start.”

The game was allegedly cancelled when last-minute paintings on the turf did not dry and created a dangerous surface that could not be played on. The ticket holders allege that the Colts and Packers knew the game was cancelled around 6:40 p.m.; however, the scoreboard continued to tick down to the 8 p.m. kick off time, at which time it was announced that the game was cancelled.

At the end of August, the Ohio lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed and a new suit was filed in California. The California suit is extremely similar to the Ohio suit, except that it was brought by Greg Herrick, the lead plaintiff who traveled from Las Angeles to Canton, Ohio for the game. This new claim brings with it a class of more than 100 California residents who bought tickets for the game.

On September 9, 2016, the Hall of Fame moved to dismiss the California claim. The Hall of Fame argued the claim should be either be dismissed because it has no connection to California or sent to Ohio because the game was to take place there and the Hall of Fame is headquartered in Ohio.

Herrick now claims that the NFL and Hall of Fame are improperly soliciting proposed class members to get them to settle without informing them of the lawsuit or what they could recover under the lawsuit. Herrick alleges that, despite not having authorization to communicate with proposed class members, the NFL and Hall of Fame calling and e-mailing the proposed class members to tell them about a reimbursement plan, without informing them that they would be giving up their rights to full compensation by accepting the offer. It is alleged that the defendants are improperly communicating with proposed class members to scare them away from joining or testifying in the lawsuit.

As of this point in the suit, the Hall of Fame has offered to refund ticket holders for the value of the tickets and one night of lodging; however, according to the lawsuit, the ticketholders are seeking all out-of-pocket expenses associated with going to the game, such as lodging, travel expenses, and costs of purchases made on game day.

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