The 45,000 people holding tickets for remaining Cleveland Browns
CLEVELAND (AP) _ The 45,000 people holding tickets for remaining Cleveland Browns home games will not receive refunds, but a judge did not rule out the possibility.
A law firm representing the ticketholders had not yet met the technical requirement of proving it could administer the case, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Kenneth Callahan ruled on Friday.
``We’re disappointed, no question about it, but the fact of the matter is he didn’t shut the door, so we’ll keep pushing,″ said Josh Cohen, a lawyer for fans who sued.
Cohen said he was confident the requirement would be met shortly.
In other developments:
_ An unhappy fan has moved to expand the city’s case to include the National Football League and Maryland officials.
_ Lawyers for the state and a Cleveland bank filed court documents supporting the city’s lawsuit against the Browns.
_ Mayor Michael R. White urged fans to continue supporting the team at remaining games.
_ City officials filed a lawsuit asking that the name ``Browns″ be declared a community asset that must be held in trust in the city.
Callahan heard arguments from attorneys representing Daniel Roether, a Cleveland man who wants to expand the city’s lawsuit to owner Art Modell, the NFL and the Maryland Stadium Authority.
Roether’s motion would force the city to add the defendants and raise the issue of Maryland’s alleged interference in a contract _ the team’s lease at Cleveland Stadium. The motion also would set damages at $1.9 billion.
Lawyers for the city and for the Browns opposed the motion.
NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said he was unaware of the motion and could not comment. Maryland Stadium Authority offices were closed Friday evening.
Callahan said he would rule by Nov. 24.
Also on Friday, Ohio Attorney General Betty Montgomery and lawyers for Ohio Savings Bank filed briefs to support the city lawsuit. Both cited a New York judge’s 1983 ruling which blocked plans to play several New York Yankees home games in Denver.
Earlier Friday, the mayor said the city’s efforts to prevent the Browns from moving could be hindered if fans failed to turn out for Sunday’s game.
Angry fans brought banners denouncing Modell to the last game on Nov. 5, and fights broke out in the stands. White said extra security would be in place, and urged fans to support the team.
``The absolute worst thing we could do would be to engage in any action that would in any way have a negative impact on our community and our effort to save the Browns,″ White said.
The ``Save Our Browns″ committee plans to distribute 70,000 orange armbands and 70,000 placards at a rally at downtown’s Huntington Park two hours before the game.
``We ask everybody to go to the game to continue to show the NFL we’re the fans who count,″ said Duane Salls, co-chairman of the committee.
The question of the Browns name also continues to cause disagreement. City officials filed a lawsuit in federal court to ask that the name ``Browns″ be declared a community asset.
Browns spokesman Kevin Byrne said Thursday that the National Football League owns the team name. Modell has said that he wants to keep the name.