Monday, March 7, 2011
Spygate lawsuit officially dead
Unless another former assistant wants to tell tales out of school like Josh McDaniels did last season, the Spygate saga is over.
On Monday, the Supreme Court announced it would not hear a class-action lawsuit against the New England Patriots and head coach Bill Belichick over their 2007 videotaping scandal.
New York Jets season ticket-holder Carl Mayer, an attorney in New Jersey who used to work for Ralph Nader, filed the suit in 2007 after allegations surfaced the Patriots had illegally videotaped opponents' defensive hand signals during games.
Mayer contended the games weren't honest contests and sought $185 million in damages. Mayer came up with the amount by figuring Jets fans had spent $61 million to watch eight Patriots games from 2000 -- Belichick's first year as Patriots coach -- through 2007 and then tripling it.
A U.S. District Court dismissed the suit in 2009, and the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that decision in May 2010.
"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 (and its alleged destruction of the videotapes themselves) were otherwise appropriate," Judge Robert E. Cowen wrote for the three-judge appeals panel at the time.
"At best, [Mayer] possessed nothing more than a contractual right to a seat from which to watch an NFL game between the Jets and the Patriots, and this right was clearly honored."
The appeals decision cited as precedent a ruling that boxing fans weren't entitled to a refund when Mike Tyson was disqualified for biting off a hunk of Evander Holyfield's ear in 1997. (The fools who thought they'd been cheated that night in Las Vegas didn't understand they'd gotten more than their money's worth that night by witnessing history.)
The Jets were one of the teams the Patriots recorded, with then-head coach Herm Edwards reportedly waving at the Patriots' cameras in 2004 to show he knew what they were up to.
The NFL fined Belichick $500,000, the Patriots $250,000 and stripped them of their first-round draft choice in 2008.