|Controverted play in Rams vs. Saints conference championship game|
(NFL image via GMA and Daily Show: fair use).
So it caught my attention when Roy Wood Jr. on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah (Comedy Central, YouTube) asked whether in fact the "Saints Were Robbed," and then quoted from a lawsuit against Roger Goodell and the NFL claiming negligence and "emotional anguish." I'm always intrigued by the scent of negligent infliction of emotional distress, which is a kind of chimera in American tort law.
The lawsuit, which can be downloaded from its attorney-author's website and was first reported by WDSU, is really a petition for mandamus, not a tort suit. It does allege negligence on the part of Goodell and the NFL and asserts that they have the power under NFL rules to remedy the bad call of the Saints-Rams game. As Roy Wood Jr. observed on The Daily Show, the petition dramatically alleges "emotional anguish" and "loss of enjoyment of life" by Saints fans. It does not, however, assert any legal basis to order Goodell or the NFL to comply with their own rule book, even if that is what they would be doing by replaying all or part of the game.
On an SB Nation blog, an L.A. attorney and confessed Rams fan fairly if spitefully described the Who Dat petition as "one of the most frivolous lawsuits to be filed. Ever." Of course, Americans have a long tradition of working out sport frustrations in litigation—that I'm today a soccer fan is evidence of the struggle—so maybe professionalism should allow some latitude for that.