Damages: When More Than What You Lost is Not Enough

The indispensible blog Above the Law has recently posted a depressing bit of news.  Certain ticket holders to the 2011 Super Bowl could not be accomodated because the temporarily-installed seats that they purchased proved to be unsafe for use.  The NFL expressed its regret by offering the disappointed purchasers their choice of either (a) $2,400 in cash — i.e., three times the value of the tickets they purchased — or (b) a seat to any future Super Bowl of their choosing, plus round-trip airfare, plus hotel accomodations.

In any other context, this would be the opening offer of a negotiation and it would be a pretty good one.

In the context of American dispute resolution, however, it was an invitation to sue.  For $5,000,000.  Further information on the lawsuits filed by certain of these ticketholders can be found here.

I don’t have a lot of wisdom to impart here, just a sort of shake of the head.  One party sold something it later transpired to be impossible to deliver.  The other party received an apology and was offered a value far exceeding the original purchase.  In what other society would two such parties not talk, not discuss, not negotiate for more, but instead pay an attorney?

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