A South Florida fan has filed suit against the San Antonio Spurs alleging the team violated the state’s deceptive and unfair trade practices act by sending several players home before a November game against the Miami Heat.
Larry McGuiness, a Miami attorney, filed the class-action suit Monday in Miami-Dade County. The suit’s allegations stem from San Antonio’s game against the Heat on Nov. 29, when Spurs stars Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli and Danny Green were sent home before the game and unavailable to play.
The lawsuit claims fans “suffered economic damages” as a result of paying a premium ticket price.
The Heat defeated the Spurs 105-100 in a nationally televised game between two of the league’s marquee teams. It was San Antonio’s sixth road game in nine days and the fourth of that week.
Fans and media learned of the players’ absences shortly before tip-off.
McGuinness’ lawsuit included a quote from San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, who has been a critic of league scheduling.
“If I was taking my 6-year-old son or daughter to the game, I would want them to see everybody, and if they weren’t there, I’d be disappointed,” Popovich said.
Commissioner David Stern later fined the Spurs $250,000 for actions “contrary to the best interests of the NBA.
“The Spurs decided to make four of their top players unavailable for an early-season game that was the team’s only regular-season visit to Miami,” Stern said at the time. “The team also did this without informing the Heat, the media, or the league office in a timely way. Under these circumstances, I have concluded that the Spurs did a disservice to the league and our fans.”
McGuinness reportedly said he purchased his ticket on the resale market.
“You go to Morton’s, you go to Delmonicos, you order that porterhouse steak and pay 63 bucks for it and out comes a cube steak,” McGuinness told CBS4 News. “You’re not getting what you thought you were going to get.
“You’re advertised to get one thing, and you get something totally different and that’s the nature of the lawsuit.”
McGuinness said he filed the lawsuit based on principle and not for financial compensation. He added any money received as a result of the suit will be donated to Hurricane Sandy relief.
The Spurs said they will not comment on the lawsuit.