On Friday, the Flyers announced the settlement of a class-action suit against the team that could be worth up to $1.125 million for 2011-12 season ticketholders if approved by the District Court of New Jersey.
The suit was originally filed on May 7, 2012 in United States District Court involving the manner in which tickets to the 2012 Winter Classic at Citizens Bank Park were "pakcaged and sold."
The complaint alleged the Flyers misled full season ticketholders by excluding the Winter Classic - a regular season game - from their contractual ticketholder agreement, which stated fans paid for 44 home games (all 41 regular season home games and 3 preseason home games).
Instead, full-time season ticketholders wishing to attend the Jan. 2, 2012 Winter Classic were forced to purchase tickets to the Winter Classic in a three-pack, which also included tickets to the Dec. 31, 2011 alumni game, an AHL Phantoms regular season game on Jan. 6, 2012, and pay $41 in processing fees per ticket.
The settlement, if approved by the District Court of New Jersey, will enable each Settlement Class Member to receive either a cash substitute voucher for food and drink at Wells Fargo Center worth $45.00 or a voucher for fan entertainment experience with an estimated value of $75.00, for each season ticket that he or she purchased.
The Flyers are believed to have a full-season ticket base of 15,000. Should all eligible parties participate to the highest dollar value allowed, the award could cost Comcast-Spectacor and the Flyers upwards of $1.125 million - plus legal fees.
As part of the settlement, the defendants have agreed to not oppose to paying attorney fees, court costs, expenses and incentive fees awarded by the Court as long as it does not exceed $500,000.
In exchange for accepting the settlement amount, the action will be dismissed.
A final settlement hearing will be heard by Judge Douglas E. Arpert on March 24, 2014. The NHL (National Hockey League Enterprises), under the supervision of lockout lawyer Shepard Goldfein, also acted as a defendant in the case with Comcast-Spectacor.
At the time of the filing last May, Comcast-Spectacor called the suit a “frivolous claim” and “a disgruntled few ... to attempt to profit from what was overwhemingly considered by those who attended the Winter Classic, and other games, an extraordinary experience.”
More than 145,228 fans attended the week-long outdoor celebration, including the three events season ticket holders were forced to purchase. The Phantoms game still stands as the largest crowd ever (45,653) to see an AHL game.
The settlement notice says the Flyers violated the Pennsylvania Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law (UTPCPL) in addition to their breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing with season ticket holders.
“We continue to believe that our actions in selling Winter Classic ticket packages were in all ways perfectly appropriate and in full compliance with the law,” Comcast-Spectacor wrote in a statement to season ticketholders on Friday. “However, to avoid engaging in protracted litigation involving our most valued customers, we are pleased that we have been able to craft a settlement that provides you with benefits to enhance your season ticket holder experience.”
The letter also thanked fans for their “continuing and unwavering support.”
A copy of the Notice of Settlement of Class Action can be found here.
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