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Wednesday, July 17, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

High Court Won’t Hear Spygate Claim of Jets Fan

(CN) - In a fitting tribute to the New York Jets, a season ticket holder of that franchise came up empty-handed after petitioning the Supreme Court to review the National Football League's Spygate scandal. Perennial NFL underdogs, the Jets have not been back to the Super Bowl since winning their first championship title in 1969.

Carl Mayer, a Princeton, N.J..-based attorney, sued for $184.8 million after an employee for the Jets' bitter rivals, the New England Patriots, secretly videotaped Jets play signals from the sidelines of a September 2007 game in which the Patriots won 38-14.

On Monday the high court justices declined to review a unanimous decision of the 3rd Circuit, which upheld a lower court's earlier dismissal of Mayer's lawsuit.

Mayer claimed the games were rigged and sought $61.6 million for the cost of tickets for all Jets-Patriots games played at Giants Stadium from 2000 through 2007, when Bill Belichick was coach. He wanted that amount tripled for federal racketeering.

Though Mayer has not found success in the courts, the Jets got some relief for the Pats' offense. The NFL stripped the Patriots of their 2008 first-round draft pick and fined both the team and Belichick.

The appeals court said the NFL is in charge of policing its own games, and that officials "did ultimately take action here."

"We do not condone the conduct on the part of the Patriots and the team's head coach, and we likewise refrain from assessing whether the NFL's sanctions ... were otherwise appropriate," Judge Robert Cowen wrote for the court in May 2010.

The circuit judges told Mayer that unhappy fans can air their grievances with the NFL by speaking out or boycotting, but "the one thing they cannot do is bring a legal action in a court of law."

Judge Cowen predicted that a ruling in favor of Mayer could lead other disappointed fans to sue when referees blow a call.

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