(CN) – The 3rd Circuit tossed a lawsuit filed by a New York Jets football fan who sought $184.8 million after the New England Patriots’ secretly videotaped the Jets’ play signals from the sidelines in a scandal that later became known as “Spygate.”
The circuit’s unanimous decision to dismiss the complaint upheld a lower court’s earlier dismissal of Carl Mayer’s lawsuit. Mayer is an attorney from Princeton, N.J., and a Jets season ticket holder.
Mayer sued after a Patriots employee videotaped signals from the Jets sideline during a September 2007 game in which the Patriots won 38-14.
The National Football League stripped the team of its 2008 first-round draft pick and fined both the team and coach Bill Belichick.
But 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 Belichick was coach. He wanted that amount tripled for federal racketeering.
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.
But, Cowen said, that doesn’t mean fans don’t have recourse. “Fans could speak out against the Patriots, their coach, and the NFL itself,” he wrote. “In fact, they could even go so far as to refuse to purchase tickets or NFL-related merchandise. … However, the one thing they cannot do is bring a legal action in a court of law.”
Cowen continued: “At the very least, a ruling in favor of Mayer could lead to other disappointed fans filing lawsuits because of ‘a blown call’ that apparently caused their team to lose.”
Mayer has said he plans to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.