06-26-2008, 09:37 PM
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Judge Gives Jets Fan Time to Amend Patriots Suit
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) -A federal judge has given a New York Jets season-ticket holder more time to amend a lawsuit that seeks millions from the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick for "deceiving customers" by videotaping opponents' signals.
The lawsuit by Carl J. Mayer, filed in September, was due to be dismissed June 30 because of a lack of activity.
Mayer and his co-counsel, Bruce I. Afran, this week asked U.S. District Judge Garrett E. Brown Jr. for more time because Afran has been ill and because of unspecified "revelations" developed by an investigation into the taping launched by U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania after the lawsuit was filed.
They asked permission to amend the lawsuit and serve notice on the defendants by Aug. 30.
Garrett, who sits in Trenton, approved the request in a handwritten note dated Monday at the bottom of Mayer's letter.
A message seeking comment from a Patriots spokesman was not immediately returned Thursday.
Mayer's lawsuit maintained that the Patriots' secret videotaping violated the contractual "expectations and rights" of Jets ticket holders "to observe an honest match played in compliance with all laws and regulations." It sought class-action status.
But Mayer and Afran, who have collaborated in legal actions against New Jersey politicians, failed to serve the defendants with copies of the complaint.
As a result, the court clerk advised Mayer in early June that the lawsuit would be dismissed June 30 unless he gives a federal judge a reason it should continue. The clerk's notice cited a court rule allowing dismissal if no proceeding had occurred for 120 days.
Until Mayer's recent letter, no public action had been taken for nearly nine months.
Mayer has not specified what other defendants or issues might be included in an amended lawsuit. But he has said the new allegations relate to the efforts of Specter, the Judiciary Committee's ranking Republican and a critic of the NFL's response to what has been called "Spygate."
The Patriots were caught taping signals by Jets coaches, a violation of league rules, during the opening game of the 2007 season. New England won 38-14 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell fined Belichick $500,000 and the team $250,000 for that incident, and stripped New England of a first-round draft choice.
Goodell in May essentially declared an end to Spygate after meeting with former New England video assistant Matt Walsh, a central figure in the scandal, saying there was no new information that would warrant a further penalty against the Patriots.
Mayer's lawsuit asserted that because other teams found illicit videotaping by the defendants, Jets ticket holders should be compensated for all games played in Giants Stadium between the Jets and Patriots since Belichick became head coach in 2000.
The suit calculated that because customers paid $61.6 million to watch eight "fraudulent" games, they're entitled to triple that amount - or $184.8 million - in compensation under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
Man, I think I should sue Bellyaches arse for beating us unfairly at least in 2 games.