A New York Jets season-ticket holder filed a class-action lawsuit Fridayagainst the New England Patriots and coach Bill Belichick for "deceiving customers."
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Newark, N.J., by Carl Mayer of Princeton Township, N.J., stems from the Patriots being caught illegally videotaping signals from Jets coaches in New England's 38-14 season-opening win Sept. 9.
"They violated the integrity of the game," Mayer's attorney, Bruce Afran, told The Associated Press. "This is a way of punishing Belichick and the Patriots."
Mayer is seeking more than $184 million in damages for Jets ticket holders.
Belichick was fined $500,000 by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, and the team was fined $250,000 for violating a league rule that prohibits clubs from using a video camera on the sidelines for any purpose -- including recording signals relayed to opposing players on the field. New England also must forfeit a first-round draft pick next year if it makes the playoffs or a second- and third-rounder if it doesn't.
"They were deceiving customers," said the 48-year-old Mayer. "You can't deceive customers."
The lawsuit maintained that because other teams found illegal videotaping by the defendants, Jets ticket holders should be compensated for all games played in Giants Stadium between the Jets and Patriots since Belichick became head coach in 2000.
The two calculated that because customers paid $61.6 million to watch eight "fraudulent" games, they're entitled to triple that amount -- or $184.8 million-- in compensation under the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act and the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.
"How many times have the Patriots done this? We find it hard to believe they did it just once," Mayer said. "We just want to get to the truth of the matter of what the Patriots did to the Jets. I think the ticket holders are genuinely concerned about it. This is a type of misrepresentation."
Patriots spokesman Stacey James declined to comment on the lawsuit.