Sports & Entertainment Law

Cleveland Browns Fan Sues NFL over Lockout; Experts Give Suit Little Chance

A Cleveland Browns fan has sued the National Football League, claiming that the lockout and lack of negotiations violated his contract to buy tickets through his personal seat license.

The plaintiff is Ken Lanci, the owner of a printing business who ran unsuccessfully for Cuyahoga County chief executive, report the New York Daily News and “Somebody has to stand up and say, ‘Enough’s enough,’ ” Lanci told ESPN.

The suit (PDF) says Lanci owns 10 seat licenses. He alleges the lockout has tortiously interfered with his contract rights, and the Browns’ participation has violated his PSL agreement and breached the team’s duty of good faith and fair dealing.

Experts interviewed by the Cleveland Plain Dealer weren’t optimistic about Lanci’s chance for success. “He has effectively no chance of winning,” said Ohio State University contract law professor Larry Garvin.

Garvin and other experts pointed out that no games have been missed, damages are low, and Lanci’s contract may be satisfied by games played with replacement players. In addition, the PSL contract provides that Lanci won’t be charged for missed games.

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