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Williams v Arl Motion(10-11)

Williams v Arl Motion(10-11)

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Published by: jeffmosier on Oct 01, 2012
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IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURTFOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF TEXASFORT WORTH DIVISIONERIC WILLIAMS§§V.§ ACTION NO. 4:11-CV-093-Y§CITY OF ARLINGTON, ET AL.§ORDER DENYING IN PART AND GRANTING IN PART MOTIONSTO DISMISS AND GRANTING LEAVE TO FILE AMENDED COMPLAINTPending before the Court are the Motion to Dismiss (doc. 41) filed by defendant City of Arlington (“Arlington”) on August 5, 2011, the Motion to Dismiss (doc. 42) filed by the NFL-Cowboys Defendants
on August 8; and the Motion to Dismiss (doc. 44) filed by defendant NorthTexas Super Bowl XLV Host Committee, Inc. (“the Host Committee”), on August 30. The CourtDENIES IN PART and GRANTS IN PART the motions to dismiss and GRANTS Plaintiff’s requestfor leave to amend his complaint.I. BACKGROUNDA. F
In 2006, the Dallas Cowboys and Jones began construction of Cowboys Stadium inArlington, Texas. One of the goals of the stadium’s design was to eventually host a Super Bowlchampionship football game. In 2007, the North Texas Super Bowl XLV Bidding Committee, Inc.(“the Bidding Committee”), began meeting with the NFL and Arlington about bidding to host SuperBowl XLV, which was to be held on February 6, 2011. The NFL informed the Bidding Committee
The NFL-Cowboys Defendants are the following defendants: National Football League (“the NFL”); JerralWayne Jones; JWJ Corporation; Cowboys Stadium, LP; Cowboys Stadium GP, LLC; and Blue & Silver, Inc. Asnecessary, the Court will refer to these defendants collectively as “the NFL-Cowboys Defendants.”
Case 4:11-cv-00093-Y Document 54 Filed 10/11/11 Page 1 of 15 PageID 469
that one of its requirements was that the host city regulate ambush marketing.
The NFL requiredthe host city to provide a “clean zone” of (1) a one-mile radius around the stadium and area airportsand (2) a six-block radius around the NFL’s headquarters hotel and sites holding NFL activities suchas “the NFL Experience.” The NFL stated that if the city awarded Super Bowl XLV could not enactambush-marketing provisions, the host city’s Super-Bowl committee would have to pay the NFL$1,000,000.In May 2007, the NFL accepted the Bidding Committee’s offer for Super Bowl XLV to beheld at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington. The Bidding Committee accordingly became the HostCommittee. The NFL-Cowboys Defendants and the Host Committee “played an integral role incoordinating [Arlington’s] implementation” of an ambush-marketing ordinance. (2
Am. Compl.11 at ¶ 4.21.) On December 7, 2010, Arlington passed an ordinance temporarily prohibiting certaincommercial activities within a protected area around Cowboys Stadium beginning January 23, 2011,through February 6, 2011: “Outdoor advertising displays (including but not limited to portablesigns, flags, banners, video screens, cold air balloons, electronic message boards, nighttimeprojections of commercial messages, inflatables and building wraps) visible from any public streetshall be prohibited.” Arlington, Tex. Ordinance 10-095 (Dec. 7, 2010). (Arlington App. 3.) Theordinance also prohibited “outdoor festivals.”
(Arlington App. 3.) Violations of the ordinancewere characterized as misdemeanors, punishable by a fine not to exceed $500.
(Arlington App.3.) The ordinance did not expressly exempt NFL sponsors from its enforcement.
To enforce theordinance, the NFL hired private security officers to police ambush marketing, and Arlington
Plaintiff Eric Williams defines ambush marketing as “misleading advertising that attempts to create anassociation between the advertiser and a major sporting event and thereby deprives official sponsors of commercial valuereceived from their sponsorship.” (2
Am. Compl. 6 at ¶ 4.8.)
Williams alleges that NFL sponsors were permitted to engage in activities that were forbidden by theordinance. (2
Am. Compl. 11 at ¶ 4.21.)
Case 4:11-cv-00093-Y Document 54 Filed 10/11/11 Page 2 of 15 PageID 470
earmarked funding to ensure compliance with the clean zone. (2
Am. Compl. 9 at ¶ 4.16.) Theremaining NFL-Cowboys Defendants and the Host Committee “played in integral role incoordinating the . . . enforcement” of the ordinance. (2
Am. Compl. 11 at ¶ 4.21.)Before the Super Bowl, Williams, who is African American, agreed with a Best Buy store,which is located in the Lincoln Square shopping center and in the stadium’s clean zone, to park abus in Best Buy’s parking lot on February 4 through February 6. Williams intended to promote ananti-bullying campaign by hosting a video-game tournament on the bus. The bus had large bannersemblazoned with pictures of Williams, pictures of African-American radio personalities, the BestBuy logo, a Geek Squad logo, and an anti-bullying message. On February 5 and 6, a music concerthosted by Coors Light and Plains Capital Bank also occurred in the Best Buy parking lot. PlainsCapital Bank and Coors Light were official Super Bowl sponsors. On February 6, an Arlingtoncode-compliance officer
told Williams that he had to move the bus immediately because he did nothave a permit. The compliance officer did not refer specifically to the ambush-marketing ordinance.(2
Am. Compl. 14 at ¶ 4.27.) Representatives of Best Buy and Lincoln Square’s property managertold the compliance officer that Williams had permission to be there. The compliance officercontinued to insist that Williams’s bus must be removed within the next ninety minutes or risk getting a ticket.The compliance officer returned approximately ninety minutes later and issued a ticket toWilliams for violating the ambush-marketing ordinance. The compliance officer told Williams toleave within the next thirty minutes. When the compliance officer returned and Williams’s bus wasstill in the clean zone, the compliance officer told Williams that the NFL had asked the compliance
The compliance officer was white.
Case 4:11-cv-00093-Y Document 54 Filed 10/11/11 Page 3 of 15 PageID 471

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