The New England Patriots have filed a lawsuit against Eastern Airlines over an alleged breach of contract. According to the lawsuit, which was obtained by the New York Post, the Patriots are upset because the airline tried to change the terms of a contract that was signed in 2020 and supposed to last for six years.
The lawsuit alleges that Eastern Airlines went to the Patriots in July 2023 and demanded that the team start paying a higher price for the airline’s services, according to sports law reporter Jason Morrin, who also obtained the lawsuit.
Although the Patriots own two airplanes (after Robert Kraft ), no one on the team is qualified to fly a Boeing 767-300, so the Patriots were contracting with Eastern Airlines to handle all operations of their game day flights, such as the flight crew.
The demands by Eastern Airlines put the Patriots in a tough spot because the team was just weeks away from its first road game where they would need the airline to operate the flight. In the end, the Patriots balked at paying the higher price, which led to the lawsuit.
“If the [New England Patriots] did not pay Eastern more than provided for in the parties’ agreement, Eastern would simply walk away from the agreement, leaving the Patriots without an airplane operator on the eve of the upcoming NFL season, and with no plan in place to transport the Patriots’ sizeable contingent of players, coaches, and other personnel across the country,” the lawsuit states.
The Patriots claim that the the airline was essentially attempting to extort the team in an effort “to wring additional, unbargained-for compensation.”
Instead of paying the higher price, the Patriots responded by terminating their agreement with the airline and filing the lawsuit. With no agreement in place, the Patriots have had to ground their two planes so far this season.
In each of their road games, the Patriots have chartered a flight with American Airlines.
The lawsuit was filed by the Patriots and 2/25/94, which is an LLC owned by Kraft. The LLC was leasing the planes to Eastern as part of the contract that the the two parties had in place prior to the lawsuit.
The team is seeking a total of $22.8 million in the suit.
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