2 years after New Jersey’s Super Bowl, ticket suit goes on

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More than two years after New Jersey's first Super Bowl, a lawsuit over how tickets were distributed is still playing out in court.

The suit seeks class-action status and alleges the National Football League violated New Jersey consumer protection laws when it made only about 1 percent of tickets to the game at MetLife Stadium available to the general public.

New Brunswick resident Josh Finkelman sued in January 2014, a month before the game between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks. The game was the first Super Bowl played at a cold-weather venue.

Finkelman alleged he had to spend about $2,000 per ticket instead of the $800 face value. The NFL released only about 900 tickets to the public via a lottery, and reserved the rest for the two Super Bowl opponents, the league's other teams, corporate partners, media outlets and other insiders.

According to the lawsuit, that amounts to a violation of a New Jersey law that prohibits a person who has access to tickets before they're released to the public from withholding more than 5 percent of tickets for the event.

The NFL has argued the law isn't applicable and the lottery doesn't constitute a public sale.

A judge in Newark dismissed the case last year and an appeals court in Philadelphia largely agreed with that ruling in January, writing that Finkelman and a co-plaintiff didn't demonstrate they had been harmed by the ticket policy. But the appeals court sent the case back to the lower court to decide whether the plaintiffs can file an amended complaint.

Finkelman didn't enter the lottery but instead bought his tickets on the secondary market. Co-plaintiff Ben Hoch-Parker didn't buy any tickets after being unable to find any for less than $4,000 apiece.

The plaintiffs are expected to find out by mid-April if they can refile the complaint. Attorney Greg Kohn said he will appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court if necessary.

"We believe the NFL wrongfully withheld tickets and we're continuing to fight this to get justice for the ticket-buying public in New Jersey, where the state protects the consumer's interest and the NFL just ran roughshod over it when it held the Super Bowl," Kohn said Tuesday.

The NFL didn't return a message seeking comment Tuesday.

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