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Judge initially dismisses ticket broker suit against Colts

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A district court has dismissed a lawsuit against the Indianapolis Colts after deciding the team had the legal right not to renew an out-of-state ticket broker’s season tickets, but the court left the case open for further action by inviting the broker to file an amended claim on stronger legal ground.

Judge William T. Lawrence of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District Indiana on Wednesday dismissed without prejudice the case of Yehuda Frager v. Indianapolis Colts, Inc., 1:16-cv-632.

In the granting of the Colts’ motion, Lawrence noted he dismissed the case without prejudice “in order to give the plaintiff an opportunity to file an amended complaint that corrects the deficiencies in the current complaint” within 14 days.

Matthew Topic, the Chicago attorney representing Frager, told Indiana Lawyer he and his client intend to appeal Lawrence’s decision. “We think that this is an important case for season ticket holder rights,” Topic said.

In the complaint filed in district court in March, Frager, a Pennsylvania ticket broker, claimed the Colts did not let him renew 94 season tickets he had bought in 2015 for the upcoming season, despite the fact that he had paid more than $75,000 for the tickets. Some local brokers — who claim to have heard that Frager’s tickets were redistributed to another broker — said the team’s decision seems to be an attempt to hold greater control over the secondary ticket market.

Frager’s complaint alleged that refusing to renew his season tickets constituted conversion of property that rightfully belonged to him. However, the invoice Frager paid stated that “each ticket purchased grants a revocable license to entry into Lucas Oil Stadium,” and continued in saying “The Colts reserve the rights to allocate tickets and seat locations and to reject any order, transfer, or renewal.”

The Colts organization moved to dismiss the complaint, arguing that Frager failed to state a claim for which relief could be granted. Specifically, according to the Wednesday decision, the team said Frager could not claim an ownership or possessory interest in the 2016 season tickets and that the language in the invoice was evidence of that fact.

In response, Frager pointed to the cases of In re I.D. Craig Service Corporation, 138 B.R. 490 (Bankr. W.D. Pa. 1992) and In re Platt, 292 B.R. 12 (Bankr. D. Mass. 2003), two cases in which bankruptcy courts found that a season ticket holder had an enforceable right to renew season tickets to the extent that the tickets were considered the property of a bankruptcy estate.

But in his granting of the Colts’ motion to dismiss, Lawrence wrote that both of those cases were distinct from Frager’s case because they involved situations in which season ticket holders automatically received offers to purchase tickets or renewal letters each year, which “create(d) a property right in the season ticket holder.”

In contrast, Indianapolis Colts, Inc. cited numerous cases that found that season ticket holders do not have  a right to renew, and the language on the Colts’ season ticket invoice makes it clear that the team has the right to reject renewal, Lawrence wrote.

“While a season ticket holder may be permitted to transfer any rights he may have, those rights are created by contract,” the judge wrote in his decision. “The Colts simply are not contractually obligated to renew a season ticket holder’s account each year.”

 

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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