Fan gets lawsuit brewing: Seeks $20M for stadium beer policy

Veterans Stadium’s unwritten bring-your-own-bottle rule for luxury-box fans is constitutionally unfair to regular Joes, alleges a federal class-action lawsuit filed yesterday.

A West Chester Eagles fan filed the suit following reports by Joe Sixpack that the stadium allows affluent fans and corporate honchos to stock their own liquor in stadium luxury boxes.

The fan, Mary Helen Jacobs, seeks $20 million on behalf of anyone who has attended a Phillies or Eagles game since 1985.

The suit alleges the stadium’s BYO policy is a violation of the plaintiffs’ 14th Amendment right to due process and equal taxation.

Both Jacobs and her Center City lawyer, David C. Brooks, declined to comment on the suit.

The lawsuit is the third arising from an ongoing Daily News investigation into the food-and-beverage concessions at the city-owned stadium.

Two other class-action lawsuits were filed this spring after Joe Sixpack disclosed that the stadium concessionaire, Ogden Entertainment, was selling 18-ounce beers that contained about two ounces less beer than advertised.

The BYO lawsuit stems from the revelation that the Vet allows a double-standard in its alcohol sales policy.

Average fans are prohibited from carrying their own beer into the stadium. They are subject to searches and possible arrest if they attempt to smuggle even a single can to their seats.

Ticketholders in the stadium’s luxury penthouses and super boxes, in contrast, are encouraged by the stadium to cart case upon case of their own beer to their boxes. They are even issued hand-trucks to help them wheel the suds upstairs.

The practice costs the city an estimated $200,000 each year in lost beer concession fees and alcohol taxes.

If the lawsuit is certified as a class-action, it would conceivably include every fan who attended a professional sporting event at the stadium for more than a decade.

The size of the class “may number in the millions” the suit says.

The lawsuit names the city, Mayor Rendell and the Revenue Department as defendants. Ogden Entertainment is not named in the lawsuit.

A city spokesman was unavailable for comment about the lawsuit late yesterday.

Earlier, Rendell told reporters he believed the luxury box BYOB policy is “unfair,” and vowed to investigate.

The suit says Jacobs attended an Eagles-Redskins game last year, during which she was forced to pay taxes on at least one cup of beer. Meanwhile, luxury-box tenants were able to consume alcohol without paying the city concession fee, the lawsuit says.

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