The outrage of New Orleans Saints fans has boiled over from the stands to a courtroom as two season ticket holders have hired a personal injury attorney to sue the NFL over a controversial play in Sunday’s NFC Championship. Attorney Frank D’Amico Jr. filed the suit with the Civil District Court of Orleans Parish on behalf of Saints season-ticket holders, saying NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has the power to put time back on the clock and allow the game to resume.
D’Amico is referencing an obscure league Rule 17, Section 2, Article 1 of the NFL rulebook. It states the commissioner “has the sole authority to investigate and take appropriate disciplinary and/or corrective measures if any club action, non-participant interference, or calamity occurs in an NFL game which the Commissioner deems so extraordinarily unfair or outside the accepted tactics encountered in professional football that such action has a major effect on the result of the game.”
The legal action stems from a play late in the NFC Championship game against the Saints and the Los Angeles Rams. On a pass play New Orleans quarterback Drew Brees threw to receiver Tommylee Lewis and Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman hit Lewis before the ball arrived. Many thought it was pass interference, but the referees did not call a penalty. The Rams went on to win the game in overtime, 26-23.
Serious Legal Matter?
Apparently D’Amico, who is representing Saints fans Tommy Badeaux and Candis Lambert, and filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Who Dat Nation, is treating this as a important matter and not a publicity stunt. The attorney, who bills himself as “The Strong Arm of the Law” and specializes in car accidents, issued a statement about the mental duress this has caused his clients.
“As a direct result of the said incident, plaintiffs herein, have been left bereft and with no faith in the National Football League for fairness despite the leagues own rules to correct such errors, along with emotional anguish, monetary loss for ticket holders, who purchased tickets with the presumption of integrity and fairness,” D’Amico wrote.
The lawsuit further alleges:
“Failure to properly call penalties and infractions during game play”
“Failure to review plays to correct field oversight after the fact”
“Failure to exercise the rights afforded to the commissioner to correct extraordinary unfair actions”
“Failure to enforce the rules of the game”
“Failure to properly train and supervise referees”
“Past, Present and future loss of enjoyment of life”
“Present and future loss of entertainment”
“Distrust of the game which has become the National pastime”
The NFL has not made any public announcement regarding the play or any consequences from it. A hearing on the lawsuit is scheduled to play out in a New Orleans court on Monday.
Outrage in The Big Easy
The lawsuit is not the only demonstration of the city’s outrage over the non-call. Another attorney threatened to file a subsequent lawsuit, though as of Wednesday nothing had been reported.
One resident decided to voice his displeasure with billboards around Atlanta, site of Super Bowl 53. Matt Bowers, who owns car dealerships throughout the southeast, has rented billboards and put up sayings like, “NFL Bleaux It!” and “Saints Were Robbed!”
A Change.org petition was also set up demanding a rematch of the game. It has garnered more than 600,000 signatures.