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Fans Fight Back! Cleveland PSL Owner Sues Browns, NFL Over Lockout


We have news for every one of the fans caught in the middle of the NFL Lockout, a Cleveland Browns PSL Owner has filed suit against the team and the league. Businessman Ken Lanci, owner of 10 private seat licenses for Cleveland home games, has filed litigation claiming that the lockout is a violation of the contract he has signed with the team. An owner-instituted lockout deprives Lanci of his right to watch Cleveland home games, according to the 24 page filing.

Pat Galbincea of The Cleveland Plain Dealer breaks the story here, and it includes a downloadable link to the full filing. The first three pages of the document lists each and every one of the NFL clubs as co-defendants, including Jerry Jones' Dallas Cowboys. Absent from the defendant list is the NFLPA, or Trade Association as they are currently known. The law firm of Corsaro & Associates is representing Lanci, a graphic design business owner. Lanci, a self-made millionaire, filed the suit yesterday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.

The filing includes a copy of Lanci's 3-year PSL agreement, and states the Browns operation in Cuyahoga County as the cause for the filing in this particular court.

The NFL is comprise of thirty-two (32) independently owned and operated teams including the Browns and the other NFL Teams. The Browns, NFL and NFL Teams have unlawfully colluded and conspired to engage in the aforementioned lockout. As a result of the lockout, Lanci has and will be deprived of his rights and obligations under the PSL's. By acting in concert with the Browns in causing the lockout, the NFL and the NFL Teams have tortiously interfered with Lanci's contractual rights.

Count I: Breach of PSL Agreement

Count II: Bad Faith

Count III: Tortious Interference With Contract

Follow the jump for more...

Count I basically deals with the act that Lanci signed a contract for the seats to home games, which currently will not happen because the owner's locked out the players.

So I read that and wonder what happens if the owners were to use replacement players, something they've repeatedly stated they would not do. Does that qualify the agreement to provide home games? I didn't see any language in the PSL agreement that refers to the quality of the players that are on the field.

Count II deals with the fact that one part of the agreement (NFL) did not refrain from actions which would destroy the value of the contract to the other party.

A ha! This would seem to close that loophole, if there is legal precedent for that. Lanci is claiming that he signed the agreement for the product currently constituting the top 1600 professional football players, and he would not be satisfied with the next best 1600.

Count III I had to look up what exactly Tortious Interfence meant, although I could grasp the concept based on the usage (Thanks Mom!).

tortious interference noun encouraging a breach, infringing on another's agreement, innerfering with contract, interfering with contractual commitments, interfering with contractual obligation, interferrng with contractual rights, intermeddling, intermeddling with business activities, obstruction, work against anothers contractual relationship, wrongful interference with busiiess relationships, wrongful interference with contractual relationships

Count III says that the colluded lockout action intereferes with the ability of the PSL contracts to be executed. I believe that this is the count that ties in all of the NFL Teams as wholly responsible.

It appears that at least one fan has had it with the mess that is the NFL lockout. Ken Lanci has fired off a salvo on behalf of the paying customer that provides all the money being argued over. Will additional fans follow suit, literally? Can the NFL withstand an onslaught of lawsuits from PSL holders for all 32 teams without caving in? With less than two weeks to go before the 8th US District Court hears the case of the 10 players against the league, things are certainly getting interesting.

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