Lawsuit seeks NFL action over playoff ‘no-call’

Lawsuit against NFL explained

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - A local attorney is taking legal action against the NFL, claiming Saints fans are bereft after Sunday’s play off game against the Rams and suffered monetary loss.

On behalf of two season ticket holders, Frank D’Amico is asking the NFL commissioner to take action, but legal experts say it’s going to be a rough fight.

D’Amico went to Orleans Civil Court Tuesday (Jan. 22), to file the lawsuit that many fans love.

“I welcome something that will bring attention to maybe the worst miscall in playoff history,” Saints fan Ryan Cox said.

D’Amico is asking the NFL to invoke rule 17, which allows the commissioner to “take corrective measures” if “any club action, non-participant interference or calamity occurs in an NFL game” and “has a major effect on the result.”

“There are three things that can happen," D’Amico said. “He can undo the outcome of the game, order a replay of the game from the beginning or put 1:49 back on the call, asking them to replay.”

As a Saints fan, veteran attorney Bobby Hjortsberg wishes D’Amico luck, but questions whether the no call rises to the level of calamity, as spelled out in rule 17.

“Oh yes I wish him luck, as a Saint fan I would like to see something happen,” Hjortsberg said. “When you talk about a legal calamity, having the Superdome roof ripped off during Katrina, now that’s a calamity."

Saints fan Earnell Patterson said even if the lawsuit doesn’t make a difference, he supports D’Amico’s attempt.

“I’m not sure how the system works, but it’s worth the effort,” Patterson said.

D’Amico said the outcome of Sunday’s game was so questionable that one sports betting book did the unthinkable.

“I’ve never seen a sports book return money to gamblers because the outcome was so egregious,” D’Amico said.

D'Amico says the NFL has a duty to follow rules designed to uphold the game's integrity.

"Louisiana law says under mandamus that a court in Louisiana, has jurisdiction over companies here, to force the company to follow their rules and bylaws," said D'Amico.

Congressman and House Minority whip Steve Scalise said the NFL owes New Orleans.

“Here’s one way they can say we blew it, we can’t re-do, put your team in this Super Bowl, but we can reward you another Super Bowl [in New Orleans] because of this mistake,” Scalise (R-La) said.

However, experts like Hjortsberg and FOX 8 legal analyst Joe Raspanti think the suit’s success is a long shot.

“I don’t think he will have success with this lawsuit,” Hjortsberg said.

“If this case is successful, I will cook jambalaya, at gate A on Poydras Street on Super Bowl Sunday,” Raspanti said.

But still, a fan can hope.

" I think everyone in the city would be behind that chance," Cox said.

Orleans Civil Court judge Piper Griffin set a Monday hearing for the lawsuit. As of Tuesday evening, no comment has come from the NFL.

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