Suit Brought by Patriot Fans is Dismissed
On June 10, 2016, a Massachusetts federal court dismissed a suit brought by seven New England Patriot fans, seeking recovery from the Deflategate scandal. The fans were unable to persuade the court that they suffered as a result of the NFL’s handling of Deflategate.
In January of 2015, the New England Patriots, including quarterback Tom Brady, played the Indianapolis Colts in the Super Bowl. Shortly after their victory, the Patriots were accused of tampering with and deflating footballs used during the game. The NFL responded by denying the Patriots future draft picks, and by suspending quarterback Tom Brady for four games in the upcoming season.
Distressed by the result, a group of seven Patriot fans joined forces and filed a complaint, alleging a violation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICOA). The complaint accuses the NFL of common law fraud, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and racketeering. According to the fans, there was no proof to back up the Deflategate allegations, and as a result, Patriot fans suffered both financially and emotionally. The fans’ attorney, Seth T. Carey, remarked that “letting the powerful oppress us when we’ve done nothing wrong is about as un-American as it gets. That attitude is the polar opposite of what the real patriots fought and died for on the very ground that the NFL owners sit while they rake in billions of dollars from us fans.” The federal court was unpersuaded by the fans’ argument and held that there was no violation of RICOA.