WILLIAM H. MONE reports on a recent decision from the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey.
A New York Jets fan recently lost a dispute with the team over the requirement that he purchase a transferrable Personal Seat License (“PSL”) in order to secure his ability to purchase season tickets. The fan purchased a PSL from a wholly owned subsidiary of the team in 2010. The PSL guaranteed the fan the ability to purchase season tickets for specific seats in the “200 level” of MetLife Stadium. The fan alleged that he did so believing it was the only way to acquire season tickets for those seats. The fan continued to renew the PSL and purchase season tickets from 2010 to 2018.
In 2018, the team informed the fan that he would no longer need to renew the PSL in order to purchase his season tickets, as the team had decided to dispense with the requirement and began marketing season tickets to others without the need for a PSL. The fan filed a class action lawsuit against the team under the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (“CFA”), alleging that he purchased the PSLs based on the team’s fraudulent representation that it was the only way to purchase season tickets, implying that his transferrable PSL was now essentially worthless. He also made a claim alleging the team breached the implied contractual covenant of good faith and fair dealing by altering its policies to his detriment.
The team filed a motion to dismiss, claiming that the fan’s complaint failed to state a claim upon which relief could be granted. The Court granted the team’s motion and dismissed the fan’s complaint, with prejudice. In doing so, the Court held, among other things, that the fan could not sustain his breach of implied covenants claim because he failed to provide factual allegations showing that the team acted in bad faith or with an improper motive.
The Court further opined that the fan could not sustain his CFA claim because the PSL Agreement specifically disclaimed any representations made by the team that were not contained in the agreement. In addition, the Court ruled that the team did not violate the terms of the PSL by altering ticket sale polices
, because the fan still retained an exclusive license to purchase his specific season tickets.
Finally, the Court noted that the terms of the PSL Agreement specifically acknowledged that even though the PSL was transferrable, the team did not represent that there would ever be a re-sale market for it and that the fan was not acquiring it as an investment with the expectation of profiting from it.
Please contact William H. Mone if you have any questions or need assistance in connection with this subject.