By Barry Wilner
AP Pro Football Writer
Several fans who traveled to Canton for the Hall of Fame game that was canceled on Sunday night because of poor field conditions are planning to sue the NFL and the hall.
Attorney Michael Avenatti, who represented ticket holders for the 2011 Super Bowl who wound up without seats in Dallas, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that no fewer than 20 individuals have approached him about a class-action lawsuit. He said his firm has fielded another 10 calls about seeking further reimbursements, including travel expenses.
Avenatti said his clients are from a variety of states, including Wisconsin and Indiana, who came to see the Packers play the Colts.
“We have been approached by no fewer than 20 individuals who traveled to the game to participate and be ready to enjoy the game,” he said. “And unfortunately they did not have the opportunity to enjoy the game, and as a result lost a significant amount of money.”
The game was canceled after paint congealed and hardened on portions of the field at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
Avenatti said the lawsuit will be filed by Monday at the latest. He did not say where it would be filed.
The NFL said it would not comment on a “planned lawsuit.” The Hall of Fame also said it would have no comment.
Avenatti said the hall’s plan to only refund ticket prices was far too little. He cited “greed” for that and blamed the NFL far more than he did the Hall of Fame.
“They could have offered what these fans paid for the tickets and to reimburse them for any expenses incurred” that could be proven. “The league has a history of being cheap with its fans.”
Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers explained what he saw on Sunday afternoon.
“I went on the field about 4:45 to do a workout, as I wasn’t playing, and I noticed right away the end zones were firm,” he said. “It was like a plastic consistency, and I was surprised by that.
“They made the decision in the interest of player safety. The substance they were trying to get the paint off with, I can promise you, was not health-conscious at all. So I think they ultimately made the right decision. The tough part is you have so many fans there who paid money to be at the game, so that’s the disappointing part.”
Avenatti has a history of battling the NFL in court.
The lawsuit over the Dallas Super Bowl began as a multi-million class action, but was not certified and the claims were significantly pared down. Most of the plaintiffs did collect some damages and were offered replacement tickets for a future Super Bowl.