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Patriots play hardball with season ticket holder.

Discussion in 'Chargers Fan Forum' started by Thumper, Apr 8, 2008.

  1. Thumper

    Thumper WHS

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    I just saw this. A season ticket holder agreed to buy a pair of luxury tickets for 10 years. He opted out after one year. now the Pats have sued him to pay the lump sum ($75,000) that he would have paid over the ten years.

    It's not like they couldn't resell the tickets. Looks like they just wanted to stick it to season ticket holder. I guess in Boston land, even the front office isn't very classy.

    Here's the article:

    High court looks at Pats vs. ticket holder

    By Jay Fitzgerald

    The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court will be refereeing a contested legal call today in a case involving the New England Patriots [team stats] and a member of the Boston Finance Commission.

    At issue is the right of the Patriots, via its subsidiary NPS LLC, to collect money from a past club-seat ticket holder who wanted out of a 10-year contract he signed in 2002 for two premium seats at Gillette Stadium.

    The Patriots want the full amount of the money owed through the life of the 10-year contract - and the defendant, Paul Minihane, says he shouldn’t have to fork over the $75,000, according to court documents.

    A lower court has already ruled that Minihane’s “club-seat license” agreement can’t be voided, even if he wanted out of the contract after only one year of attending games at Gillette.

    But a Norfolk Superior Court judge has also ruled that the Patriots are entitled to about $13,500, because it didn’t prove it was financially damaged to the tune of $75,000.

    The Pats have since thrown the legal equivalent of a red flag to protest that decision - and the state’s highest court has agreed to act as the legal equivalent of a football referee reviewing a controversial call.

    The two sides will square off today at a hearing before the court.

    A spokesman and lawyer for the Patriots declined comment.

    Minihane - a member of the Boston Finance Commission, which acts as a state-appointed watchdog over the city’s budget - and his lawyer could not be reached for comment.

    Because the state’s highest court is now involved, the case could have wider ramifications for Massachusetts contract laws in general.

    The high court is expected to zero in on the issue of so-called “liquidated damages,” a subject it tackled last year in another case.

    The court, which took the Pats-Minihane case out of the appeals process for review, appears to want to further refine the law surrounding contract damages.

    According to court papers, there’s no dispute that Minihane signed a contract in May 2002 - nearly four months after the Pats won their first Super Bowl - to purchase two premium club seats at the new $350 million Gillette Stadium. The stadium opened later that year.

    Each club seat cost $3,750 for 10 home games - with the provision that the buyer had to agree to a 10-year deal at that set price.

    The Patriots, owned by Robert Kraft, used such long-term contracts on club and luxury seats to guarantee a long-term revenue stream in order to line up financing to build Gillette.

    In return for signing long-term season-ticket contracts, so-called licensed “members” received privileged parking spaces during games, the right to purchase Super Bowl tickets, year-round access to Gillette’s function rooms and other perks.

    But after one season, the Pats argued Minihane missed making contract payments.

    The Patriots [team stats] basically said a contract is a contract - and that Minihane had to pay up the full “accelerated” $75,000 through the end of the contract.

    In effect, Minihane argued back that he shouldn’t have to pay the full amount if the now hugely popular Patriots - who have a waiting list for people seeking to buy season tickets - weren’t actually damaged to the tune of $75,000.

    The lower court awarded the Patriots $6,000 and, court papers indicate, the team was allowed to keep a $7,500 security deposit paid by Minihane.

    LINK
     
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  2. AnteaterCharger

    AnteaterCharger Calibrating Bolttalk, Podcast by Podcast Staff Member Super Moderator Podcaster

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    very excessive in light of what hte Pats might get and as you said thumper, makes their front office look as classy as Bellichek.


    However if there's a provision in that contract that doesn't allow an op-out then its all on the dumb season ticket holder
     
  3. reddenedbeard

    reddenedbeard Well-Known Member

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    You can see where the "class" trickles down from.
     
  4. maestro876

    maestro876 BoltTalker

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    C'mon Ant, where's you're law-school analysis?

    In order for the Pats to recover, they have to prove agreement, breach, AND damages. They ALSO have a duty to mitigate.

    Now in this case, there's clearly an agreement and breach. They signed the contract for the 10-year deal. The ticket-holder is now backing out and refusing to pay. There's your breach.

    But, in order for the Pats to recover, they also have to prove they were damaged to the tune of $75,000, or whatever they are trying to recover. They can't possibly do this. They never paid out $75,000 to the guy, so they can't claim they deserve restitution. Neither can they claim they incurred costs relying on his promise, unless they spent money on his behalf to replace the seat or something. What the Pats are trying to get is EXPECTATION damages, meaning they are trying to recover the amount they expected to receive under the contract.

    Expectation damages are rarely awarded. Especially in this case, where the Pats could have easily re-sold the tickets to someone else--their duty to mitigate damages.

    So under basic contract law principles, the Pats are going to get squat.

    Apparently there's also an issue of liquidated damages. Liquidated damages are when the parties to the contract set out ahead of time the amount they will be required to pay the other side if they breach. For example, this contract could have had a clause stating that "In the event that the ticket-holder breaches, he is required to pay the entire sum due under this contract as liquidated damages." The only problem with this is that liquidated damages provisions are only valid if they represent a reasonable attempt to determine the actual damages the party will sustain in the event of breach. This means, again, that unless they can show that $75,000 was a reasonable estimate of the ACTUAL damages they would sustain, they are out of luck. And they probably won't be able to, given that they have a ticket waiting list a mile long.

    The Pats may be entitled to some token reliance or restitution damages for benefits they already gave the guy, but they will never recover the full $75,000 amount.
     
  5. Boltdiehard

    Boltdiehard Well-Known Member

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    He did sign a contract.
     
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  6. maestro876

    maestro876 BoltTalker

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    He did, but under contract law you can only recover if you were damaged. Here, the Pats weren't damaged by $75,000. They can recover for money they spent relying on the contract, and for benefits they gave to the guy, but they can't recover the money they expected to make from selling the tickets.
     
  7. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

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    I guess they're hard up for cash after they couldn't sell all those 18-0 shirts...
     
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  8. Zeus

    Zeus BoltTalker

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    100% Correct. Unless it said somewhere in the contract that there would be other financial obligations if the person didn't follow through with their obligations the ticket holder won't have to pay the 75 K amount.

    The Pat organization can still rent out those seats to someone else and lose almost zero dollars. Charging him for time he is not going to use is a really dumb move. The only reason I can see them going farther on this is because they want to provide a lesson and/or they want him to pay through legal fees the amount he would have to pay to them in the first place. At this point it really isn't about the money.

    He should counter sue them for the legal costs on this case that really should of never been brought up and certainly not this far.
     
  9. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Which goes to show how they really feel about their fans, IMO.

    Yes, the guy signed a contract & should be penalized for backing out. But it isn't like they won't be able to reel in another buyer.
     
  10. Nomadic Bolt Fan

    Nomadic Bolt Fan Well-Known Member

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    :icon_rofl:
     
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  11. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

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    Won't the guy have to eat court costs as well if he loses?
     
  12. henryqjr2001

    henryqjr2001 BoltTalker

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    A contract is a contract. Even if you sign it with the Devil, opps I mean the Pats.
     
  13. Thumper

    Thumper WHS

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    All I'm sayin' is there is no doubt this ticket holder was stupid the way he handled this (obviously, he's a Pats fan), but to go after a guy this hard when they could have just resold the tickets is ridiculous. Contract or not, they have to show that they would reasonably expect to have $75,000 in damages. That is something they can't do because it's not the truth. So what this really amounts to is The Pats front office sticking it to the fan.
     
  14. RM24

    RM24 BoltTalker

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    Do they have that on video tape???? :icon_rofl:
     
  15. maestro876

    maestro876 BoltTalker

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    I get to look forward to all that stuff next year. I'm finishing up year 1 at the moment, so I'm knee-deep in contracts. I showed the article to my professor and he agreed with my/our analysis, and said it would have been a great exam question. Too bad he can't do it this year!

    Chispa is right. There could be a clause in the contract that says if there's litigation concerning this agreement, the loser pays everyone's legal fees. The court could also decide to award costs to the plaintiff if they feel it's in the interests of justice. The general common law American rule, though, is that each side pays their own costs. So unless there's something special, then he shouldn't have to pay it.
     
  16. Buck Melanoma

    Buck Melanoma Guest

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    Bottom line - the Pats organization sucks, top to bottom. It's all about being on top, no matter what the subject or cost. :tdown:

    I'm looking forward to this season for MANY reasons. One is that I'm expecting & looking forward to the fall of the evil empire. :tup:
     
  17. Nomadic Bolt Fan

    Nomadic Bolt Fan Well-Known Member

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    Speaking of Spygate...... South Park last night made some nice referances. Check it out here:

    http://www.southparkstudios.com/episodes/165704/

    Then pick the "Eek, A Penis!" episode.

    The Pats stuff starts at around the 7:36 mark and cuts between the other story and back again. I think this also is a parody of the movie Stand And Deliver.

    NOTE: The other story line of this episode might offend some (normal for South Park). Enjoy! :icon_rofl:
     
  18. PowderLove

    PowderLove Former Mod, Current Slacker

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    Were they in that 70's flick....? :icon_twisted:
     

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