ANTONIO LE MON, A PROFESSIONAL LAW CORPORATION; SUSAN S. BOUDREAUX; AND JANE N. PREAU WIFE OF/AND WILLIAM J. PREAU, III
NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE; ROGER GOODELL, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS COMMISSIONER OF THE NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE; NFL PROPERTIES LLC, AS SUCCESSOR-IN-INTEREST TO NFL PROPERTIES, INC.; PATRICK O. TURNER, JR.; GARY P. CAVALETTO; AND WILLIAM J. VINOVICH, III
SUPERVISORY WRIT TO THE CIVIL DISTRICT COURT, PARISH OF
who allege they are New Orleans Saints season ticket holders
and who attended the NFC Championship game, filed the instant
suit against the National Football League, its commissioner
and certain officials (collectively referred to hereinafter
as "NFL") based on actions which occurred during
the 2019 NFC Championship game between the New Orleans Saints
and the Los Angeles Rams. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged
the NFL and the game officials engaged in a conspiracy and
committed fraud and deceptive trade practices "against
Petitioners as season ticket holders and observers of the
aforesaid game" entitling them to damages.
responded by filing a peremptory exception raising the
objection of no right of action. In support of its exception,
the NFL argued plaintiffs were not within the class of people
with enforceable rights regarding the outcome of the
administration of the rules in a particular game. According
to the NFL, plaintiffs' tickets were merely a revocable
license only allowing entrance to the stadium and a place
from which to watch a particular game.
hearing, the district court denied the NFL's exception.
The NFL sought supervisory review in the court of appeal,
which denied the application. The NFL now seeks relief in
function of the exception of no right of action is to
determine whether the plaintiff belongs to the class of
persons to whom the law grants the cause of action asserted
in the suit. Eagle Pipe & Supply v. Amerada Hess
Corp., 10-2267 (La. 10/25/11), 79 So.3d 246. In
reviewing a ruling on an exception of no right of action, the
reviewing court should focus on whether the particular
plaintiff has a right to bring the suit and is a member of
the class of persons that has a legal interest in the subject
matter of the litigation, assuming the petition states a
valid cause of action for some person. Badeaux v.
Southwest Computer Bureau, Inc., 2005-0612 (La.
3/17/06), 929 So.2d 1211, 1217.
narrow issue presented in this case is whether plaintiffs,
who are New Orleans Saints season ticket holders and who
attended the NFC Championship game, belong to the class of
persons who have a cause of action to recover damages for
alleged fraud and deceptive trade practices committed by the
NFL and its officials during the game. Nearly seventy-five
years ago, in Vogel v. Saenger Theatres, 207 La.
835, 22 So.2d 189 (1945), we explained that under Louisiana
law, a ticket of admission to a theater or place of public
amusement confers on a purchaser thereof a mere license to
witness the performance. Under this doctrine, a ticket holder
whose right of admission is revoked may
bring an action for breach of contract. See also Mancina
v. Goodell, 2013 WL 393041 (E.D. La. 1/30/13)
(explaining that Louisiana jurisprudence provides that
revocation of a license or breach of contract can result in
actual damages, usually the amounts paid for the ticket and
necessary expenses incurred in attending the performance, as
well as mental suffering).
this reasoning to the case at bar, we find plaintiffs'
purchase of a ticket merely granted them the right of entry
and a seat at the game. Plaintiffs have not alleged that
these rights were revoked or denied in any way.
plaintiffs argue the facts of the instant case are
distinguishable from earlier cases because they have alleged
fraud, intentional torts, and gross negligent acts. They
contend that Vogel left open the possibility that a
spectator could recover additional damages.
disagree. While Vogel recognized that Louisiana law
may allow greater damages than those available at common law,
such damages are predicated "upon the proprietor's
breach of contract without just cause. . . ." There is
no allegation of any breach of the contract allowing
plaintiffs to attend the game.
we find public policy considerations weigh in favor of
restricting the rights of spectators to bring actions based
on the conduct of officials of professional sporting leagues.
As the federal court in Mayer v. Belichick, 605 F.3d
223, 237 (3d Cir. 2010), explained, "it is not the role
of judges and juries to be second-guessing the decision taken
by a professional sports league purportedly enforcing its own
rules." Allowing such suits would only serve to
"further burden already limited judicial resources and
force professional sports organizations and related
individuals to expend money, time, and resources to defend
against such litigation." Id. While we are
certainly cognizant of the passion of sports fans, and
particularly those who are fans of the New Orleans Saints,
the courts are not the proper forum to litigate such
we find the district court erred in finding plaintiffs have a
right of action to bring this suit. We must reverse that
judgment and grant the exception.
La. Code Civ. P. art. 934 provides that a judgment sustaining
a peremptory exception should permit amendment of the
petition when the grounds thereof can be removed by
amendment, amendment is not permitted when it would
constitute a vain and useless act. Alexander and
Alexander, Inc. v. State, Div. Of Administration, 486
So.2d 95, 100 (La. 1986). Here, we have concluded the
plaintiffs-ticket holders who attended the NFL Championship
games-have no right to recover damages for fraud and
deceptive trade practices allegedly committed by the NFL and
its officials during the game, and plaintiffs have suggested