The Louisiana Supreme Court dismissed a New Orleans Saints fans’ lawsuit against the NFL over the infamous “no call” in the NFC Championship Game on Friday, meaning commissioner Roger Goodell and game officials will no longer be required to testify.
The lawsuit was claiming fraud and conspiracy over the officials’ failure to call pass interference in the final minutes of the Saints’ loss to the Los Angeles Rams in January. Similar lawsuits had previously been dismissed in federal court.
A Louisiana district court judge ordered in July that Goodell and three officials from the game could be questioned under oath. But the NFL appealed – and the Saints themselves filed a brief on behalf of the league, suggesting that allowing the lawsuit to proceed would “open the door to countless legal claims.”
The supreme court agreed in its ruling, which stated: “We find public policy considerations weigh in favor of restricting the rights of spectators to bring actions based on the conduct of officials of professional sporting leagues.”
The ruling cited a previous precedent which stated, “It is not the role of judges and juries to be second-guessing the decision taken by a professional sports league purportedly enforcing its own rules” and that allowing such suits would only serve to “further burden already limited judicial resources and force professional sports organizations and related individuals to expend money, time, and resources to defend against such litigation.”
“While we are certainly cognizant of the passion of sports fans, and particularly those who are fans of the New Orleans Saints, the courts are not the proper forum to litigate such disputes,” the ruling concluded.