Beckman v. Chicago Bear Football Club inc et al
Court Docket Sheet

Northern District of Illinois

1:2017-cv-04551 (ilnd)

RECEIVED Complaint and request for injunction and 0 copies by Russell Beckman (Exhibits)

Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 1 of 43 PageID #:1 REEEIVED t-cD JUN 1 0 2017 IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FORTHE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS."-ll?j$B8ffiI33,*, EASTERN DIVISION RUSSELL BECKMAN, and any other similarly situated individual, 17 CV 4551 Plaintiff, Judge Gottschall Magistrate Judge Gilbert v. CHICAGO BEAR FOOTBALL CLUB, INC., a Delaware Corporation, and the NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE, an unincorporated association, Defendant(s). COMPLAINT AND REOUEST FOR INJUNCTIONI I. The Parties to This Complaint A. The Plaintiff Russell Beckman 431I Durand Avenue, #209 Mount Pleasant, Racine County Wisconsin 53405 (262)94s-124e B. The Defendants(s) DefendantNo. 1 Chicago Bear Football Club, lnc. A Delaware Corporation 1920 Football Drive, Lake Forest, Lake County Illinois,60045 (847)6ts-2390 ticket.offi 1 The Plaintiffl, a pro se litigant, in order to conform with Rule LR.52.[c) has adapted this complaint format from the following source: "pro se 2 (rev. 72/16) complaint and requestfor injunction" Retrieved on May 31,20!7 from and request for injunction.pdf. Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 2 of 43 PageID #:2 Defendant No. 2 National Football League (I.IFL) An unincorporated association of 32 professional football teams 345 Park Avenue New York, New York County New York, 10154 Unknown phone number and email address II Basis for Jurisdiction The basis for federal court jurisdiction is both "federal question" and "diversity of citizenship." A. If the Basis for Jurisdiction Is a Federal Question List the specific federal statutes, federal treaties, and/or provisions of the United States Constitution that are at issue in this case-United States Constitution; The right of the plaintiff and his companions to freedom of speech guaranteed by the First Amendment via the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. (Soldier Field is a public facility that was publicly financed and is owned by the City of Chicago Park District.) B. If the Basis for Jurisdiction is Diversity of Citizenship l. The Plaintiff a. The Plaintiff, Russell Beckman, is an individual and is a citizen of the State of Wisconsin. 2. The Defendan(s) a. The Defendant, the Chicago Bear Football Club, Inc., is a corporation and is incorporated under the laws of the State of Delaware" and has its principal place of business in the State of illinois. Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 3 of 43 PageID #:3 b. The Defendant, the National Football League (NFL) ts an unincorporated association consistin g of separately owned professional football teams that operate out of many different cities and states in this country. The NFL has its principal place of business in the State of New York and maintains its offices at345 Park Avenue, New York, New York. It has thirty-two franchise teams that are based in or play home games in twenty-two states. One of these franchise teams is the Chicago Bears, the other defendant in this action. The Bears are based in the Eastern Division of the Northern Judicial District of illinois. The NFL also has a franchise team, the Green Bay Packers, based in the Eastern Judicial District of Wisconsin. The Bears play the Packers once a year during the regular season in Green Bay. The Plaintiff in this action resides in the Eastern District of Wisconsin. 3. The Amount in Controversy The Plaintiff is not seeking compensatory or punitive damages from the Defendants. This action is seeking injunctive relief and the reimbursement of the Plaintiff s court and service fees for this action. ur. Statement of Claim A. Where did the events giving rise to your claim(s) occur? Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois. Soldier Field is a publicly financed facility owned by the Chicago Park District. Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 4 of 43 PageID #:4 B. What date and approximate time did the events giving rise to your claim(s) occur? December 18,2016 at approximately 10:30am. This is also an ongoing and repeatable annual event. C. What are the facts underlying your claim(s)? 1. I am a Chicago Bear personal seat license (PSL) owner who has five corresponding season tickets (STFD. As part of the benefits of my PSL and STH status with the Bears, myself and a companion were allowed to stand on the edge of the playing field to observe pre-game warrn ups for the 2014 and 2015 season gzrmes between the Bears and the Green Bay Packers at Soldier Field. At each of these games and while participating in each of those year's experiences, my companion and I wore Green Bay Packer apparel. It appears that these 2014 and 2015 experiences were a Bears initiative in providing experiences for a select group of season ticket holders and was a pilot program for a more formalized and expansive "STH experience" program it would unveil at the start of the 2016 season. 2. During the off season prior to the 2016 season, the Bear's mailed a solicitation to season ticket holders offering the opportunity to purchase personal seat licenses for seats they occupied with their season tickets. I already owned PSL's for my two club seats. However, I did not own PSL's for my three other seats in the south end zone. [n large part because I wanted to maintain my ability for me, my family, including future grandchildren, and friends, to be able to Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 5 of 43 PageID #:5 continue to enjoy this on-field experience long into the future, I purchased PSL's for my three end zone seats. The ability to participate in this experience only added to the tremendous enjoyment I experience, with my family and friends, at this annual game. 3. Prior to the start of 2016 seztson, the Bears enacted a progrilm to reward season ticket holders with "points" from which they could purchase "Experiences." On July 13, 2016,I received an email from the Bears. This email informed me that I had been awarded--or had actually earned, based upon a formula developed by the Bears--eleven points that I could use to purchase "experiences."(exhibit A, pp. 7-9.) On August 1,2016,I used the points I was awarded to purchase three spots for the "pregame warn-up field experience" at the December 18, 2016 game between the Bears and the Packers. (exhibit A, pp. 11-13.) 4. On December 12,2016,I received an email from the Bears that provided specific information regarding participation in this December 18,2016 experience. Among other stated rules and conditions, this email indicated "NO OPPOSING TEAM GEAR WILL BE ALLOWED."2 (exhibit A, pp. 14-16) 5. Since I intended to wear Packer apparel to this game and during my participation in this experience, over the next few days, I exchanged several emails and telephone calls with Bear's ticket office staff. In the end, I was specifically and clearly informed that I would not be allowed to participate in this 2 The wording was in all caps in the email. Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 6 of 43 PageID #:6 experience if I wore any Packer apparel. I informed the Bears that I would show up to the experience registration location on game day wearing my Packer apparel. I did so, and I was denied participation in the experience. My two companions wore no apparel representing any NFL team so they would not be denied participation in this very unique experience. Both of these companions were allowed to participate in this experience. (exhibit A, pp. 17-24.) 6. On January 3,2017,I mailed, via United States Postal Service certified mail (exhibit B.), a detailed written appeal to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. (exhibit A.) In this written appeal, I asked that he intervene in this dispute and order or persuade the Bears to stop imposing this rule in the future. There was no response. A copy of this appeal was also emailed to Brendan Pierce, of the Bears ticket office, on January 2,1017. 7. On May 15,2017,I received an email from the Bears informing me that for the 2017 season I will have twelve points that I can use to purchase experiences and other benefits through this ongoing program. (exhibit C.) The twelve points I have been awarded for this year will allow me to purchase four "pregame wann-up field credentials" for the November 12,2017 game between the Bears and the Packers.ilr: This email contained a link that provided further details about the program that provides these experiences to season ticket holders. ( ica ckets-and-stadium/experiences.html?camefrom=EMCl_ I 645 896 642365 5I) What follows is a copy and paste directly from the "Frequently Asked Questions" portion of this web page: Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 7 of 43 PageID #:7 " Freq uently Asked Questions What is the STH Experiences program? STH Experiences is afree benefits program that allows Chicago Bears Season Ticket Holders to create q customized and memorable Bears eyent experience. The program delivers exclusive perks and exciting events to Season Ticlet Holders via the Chicago Bears Oficial Mobile App. l{ho is eligible to access STH Experiences? STH Experiences is a program designed exclusivelyfor all Chicago Bears Season Ticlet Holders. " 8. On May 25,2017,I was accessing the Bear's mobile app on my cell phone. [t is through this app that all of these benefits and experiences for Bears season ticket holders are purchased. At this time, I checked this app for the listing for the "pregame wann-up field credential" for the November 12,2017 garne between the Bears and the Packers. This listing had the following under a heading titled "Things to know:": "No visiting team clothing allowed." (exhibit D.)[E 9. This published rule indicates the Bears will, once again, deny me and any companions access to the held on November 12,2017, when I attempt to redeem my duly purchased "pregame warm-up field credentials" while I am clad in Packer apparel. 10. Additionally, I checked the Bears mobile app for the listed rules for the "pregame warrn-up field credential" for each of the 2017 Bear home games. The listing for every 2017 home game had this prohibition against wearing visiting team apparel. Thus, there are likely other similarly situated Bear season ticket holders and their companions who, like me, already have and will continue to be denied access to this experience simply because they are dressed in opposing team gear. Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 8 of 43 PageID #:8 IV. Irreparable Injur.v Explain why monetary damages at a later time would not adequately compensate you for the injuries you sustained, are sustaining, or will sustain as a result of the events described above, or why such compensation could not be measured. 11. As previously indicated, I was able to enjoy this on-field pregame warrn-up experience in both the2014 and 2015 seasons at the annual game between the Bears and Packers at Soldier Field. It is these years that the Bears first started its pilot program for STH Experiences. During these two experiences, my companions and I wore Packer apparel and we were not denied participation in this experience. These two experiences were very enjoyable for both me and my companion. 12. The Bears host the Packers at Soldier Field only once per regular season. Because I am a Bear Season ticket holder, I have attended the Bear Packer game in Chicago every year since I became a season ticket holder in 2003. Also, i attended the NFC Championship game between the Bears and the Packers at Soldier Field on January 23,2011. I generally attend these games with my children, who are now all young adults. I have always wom Packer apparel to these games. It is part of a long time tradition for my family to attend both home and away Packer games. 13. Due to the prohibition that forbids wearing visiting team apparel while participating in this specific experience, the Bears have, without any compelling or reasonable cause, or Constifutionally mandated reason, deprived me of my ability to fully enjoy this specific on-field experience and the general experience Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 9 of 43 PageID #:9 of the Bears Packer game at Soldier Field. Because it is impossible to place a monetary value on this loss, I am not seeking compensation, other than court costs, from the defendants. I am only seeking that the Bears and the NFL be ordered by the court to not enforce this rule for the 2017 season and beyond. If the defendants are allowed to continue to enforce this rule, my harm continues indefinitely. v. Relief State briefly and precisely what damages or other relief the plaintiff asks the court to order. Do not make legal arguments. Include any basis for claiming that the wrongs alleged are continuing at the present time. Include the amounts of any actual damages claimed for the acts alleged and the basis for these amounts. Include any punitive or exemplary damages claimed, the amounts, and the reasons you claim you are entitled to the actual punitive money damages. 14. The relief I seek is simply that the Bears and the NFL be ordered by the court to not enforce this rule for the 2017 season and subsequent seasons. 15. I am not seeking monetary damages. I would only ask that the defendants be ordered to pay my court filing fees and service fees. I have decided to not hire an attomey and I will represent myself to pursue this matter because I have no desire to incur large costs that could be possibly assessed to the defendants. I believe this matter is simple enough that I can pursue it on my own and I am doing so in good faith, only after exhausting all reasonable attempts to resolve this matter with the two defendants prior to filing this action. Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 10 of 43 PageID #:10 VI. Certification and Closing Under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11, by signing below, I certiff to the best of my knowledge, information, and belief that this complaint: (l) is not being presented for an improper purpose, such as to harass, cause unnecessary delay, or needlessly increase the cost of litigation; (2) is supported by existing law or by a nonfrivolous argument for extending, modiffing, or reversing existing law; (3) the factual contentions have evidentiary support or, if specifically so identified, will likely have evidentiary support after a reasonable opportunity for further investigation or discovery; and (4) the complaint otherwise complies with the requirements of Rule 11. A. For Parties Without an Attorney I agree to provide the Clerk's Office with any changes to my address where case-related papers may be served. I understand that my failure to keep a current address on file with the Clerk's Office may result in the dismissal of my case. Dateorsign rrr, 6-I 6' I 7 Signature of Plaintiff Printed Name of Plaintiff Russell Beckman The Plaintiff is a pro se litigant. His contact information is as follows: Russell Beckman 4311 Durand Avenue, #209 Mount Pleasant, Racine County Wisconsin 53405 (262)94s-1249 L0 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 11 of 43 PageID #:11 List of Exhibits ffudge's Copy) ExhibitA: This was the written appeaf dated anuary 2,20L7, thatwas mailed to NFL Commissioner Rodger Goodell asking that he intervene in this dispute with the Chicago Bears. This packet of materials consists of the following items:. Actual letter (5 pages) to Mr. Goodell with the following attachments: o Email from Bears dated fuly 13, 20L6. [three pagesJ o Attachment to uly t3 20t6 email. (one page) o Experience receipt email from the Bears on August L,20L6. (three pages) o Email from Bears dated December L2,2AL6. (two pages) o Attachment to December 12,20L6 email. (one page) o Email exchange between me and Bears ticket offlce staff. December 13-15, 2AL6 fthree pages) o Attachment to my December L3,20L6 email to the aforementioned December 13-15th exchange. [This is a photo of me and one of my daughters at the Packer/Buccaneers game on Decemb er 2L,201,4. I wore the same outfit to the Bears/Packer game on Decemb er 12, 2015J(one page) o Email exchange between me and Brendan Pierce of the Bears. December t5-L7. 20L6. (three pagesJ o Photo of me atthe September t3,20LS Packer/Bears game while I am was on the field enjoying the "Pregame Warm-up Field Credential Experience." fone page) Exhibit B: United States Postal Service certified mail receipt documenting proof of deliver of the aforementioned Exhibit A to the NFL offices in New York. (one page) Exhibit C: Email from the Chicago Bears to the plaintiff dated May 15, 20L7. (two pages) Exhihit D: Screen Shot from my cellular phone accessing part of my Chicago Bears "STH Experiences" account on the Chicago Bears cellular phone app on May 25,20L7. (one page) Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 12 of 43 PageID #:12 Exhibit Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 13 of 43 PageID #:13 Rus*llBeckman Exhibft#/2 4311 Durand Avenue, S209 Mount Fleasant, Wl 534Os (?52)*45-1249 Page 2ofu January 2,?:077 Co rnmissioner Roger Goodell f'lational Football League 345 Park Avenue, New York, NY 1t)154 Oelivered uia Unitrd States Po*al Serv{ce f.grtiffd lvkil-Dear Mr. Goodell: that you and the NFL intervene in a dispute that I am having with the I am asking Chicago Bears-This letter, which willbe lengthy, will provide detailed information about me, my history as a fan *nd seassn ticket holder with two NFLteams, and the basis for this dispute. I am bringing this dispute to you whh the best of intentions and with the goal of avoiding titigation, Please know that t feel very strongly about this matter. I will bt respectfully persistent in my att€mpts to resolve this matter. The basis of my dispute with the Chicago Sears istheir refusal to allow rne to participate in a season ticket holder'Pregame Warm*up Field Credeotial Experiefic€" duringthe Becenrber 18, 2016 Bears/Packer garne because I declined to not wear, or co\rer'up, my Packer apparel-(See attached emails between ma and the Chicago Bears ticket office that provide some specific infornration related to the implementation of this neu, policy.) I believe ttre Bears intend to aontinue to eaforce this new rule into the future. I believe this new policy is rnisguided and eCIntrary to both cornffion sens€ and to the NFL's operational mission $tetemeot.! I also believe this new policy will cause harrn to all HFL stakeholders, which include fans like me. t hope that you will see the folly in this new policy and use your power as the chief exec$tive officer of the franchisor to direct the Bears to revert to their original pollcy that addressed this specific season tick€t holder experience-Footbdll Operotions' missiaa is to ests0lisl, o cufture of clority, consrsfeary and credibility in all' 'rVFl aspec6 of the grrliltest gaffie. Faotbatt is an essential piece af Amerieo's fakic, uniting fons, players ond carnmunities with a simpte yet gtrerfut bo*d-We honor aur Eome's histary while continuing to innwate and preserve oursp*t lwfutwe generc$io{rs af fans, play,ers, toothes, tesfiB aN offiials.' Copied and pasted from the fotlowi*g web site on January 1, 2O17: http:#q*eta!i+,?*.fitl"eqm/Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 14 of 43 PageID #:14 Exhibi t#/-What follows are the relevant facts related to this dispute: hily persofial history as an llFl/Packer fun: Page Lof 4 first became a football fan as a child in the late 196&. I grew up in a city cn the I Wisconsin/lllinois border and followed both the Bears and the Packers. However, I uhimately committed to being a Packer fan. I attended my first NFL game as a twelve year old at the old Milwaukee County Stadium. tn the early 198Sr I put myself an the waiting list for Packer season tickets for both 6reen Bay and Milwaukee game$. I obtained tiekets for the three gamet the Packers played at the old Milwaukee County Stadium in the mid 198Os. When the Packers moved all games to Green Bay in 1995, my Milwaukee season tickets turned to "Gold Package" Packer season tickets. ln 2013, after waiting nearly three decades. I was finally offered an opportunity to purchase 'Green Package" season tickets from the Packers. Throughout the 1980s and untilthe arrival of Erett Farve, I rrrras always able to obtain Lambeau Field Packer season tickets at face value from regular seagon ticket holders who no {onger attended games due to the poor product the Packers put on the field, I chuckle when people claim that the Packers have sold out Eames for decades. The truth is that during those lean years, it was often dfficult to give tickets away to Packer home gemes. {l find it ironic that the Bears are currently experiencingthe same phenomenon. lt is a fact that no tEam is immune from down times. All that is required for reduced dernand for tickets are a few years of on-field mediocracy.) Also, from the mid L980's to 2003, I attended the PackerlBear game in Chicago most years-I also frequently traveled to other NFL venues to enioy Packer away Sarnes-I should also note that I have three young aduh children. I put each child on the Packer season ticket waiting list on the day after they were born. Due to their cure*t ages, and their relatively low position on that list, I expect that each of them will have their own $eeson Packer se8son tickets in the next ten years. Specific Infonnatioc regarding my rtat$ as a Chicago Eeam seasoo tick€t holder: put myself on the list for five Bears season tickets $ometirne after 1985. ln the eady I 2O0Os the Chicago Park Distrist started a nearty one billion dollar renovation of Soldier Field to accommodate the Chicago Bears. I was offered an oppo*unity to purchase personal seat licenses in the new Bea/s home stadium-I purehased two club seat personalseat licenses and obtained three other non-PSL seats in the south ead eone. first game at this neu, venue on September 29, 2003 against the Packers. I I was at the was there with two of my children. tln fact, my children went with me to most of the NFL games I attended from the time they were beyond first grade.) Since that first game, I have not missed a PackerlBear game in f,hicago. I am also proud that rny narne is listed on a public display at Soldier Field of Eears Charter Personal Seat Ucense Holders. Prior to the 2014 season, the Bears started a well-intended program to reward club seat season ticket holders with perks or experiences. I took advantage of many of these Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 15 of 43 PageID #:15 Exhibit#l Page 3 oQt experiences. I attended several eventr at Hallas Hall. I alto regularly attended the exclt"lsive club seat holder events at the Bear's Family night in early August" lt i5 important to note that I have never worn NFL team apparel of any team to these Bear events. I do so because these events are more intimate and I want to respect my fellow Eear se;son ticket holders at these events. flowever, I consider aaual PmkerlBear games at Soldier Field to be events in which I can proudly wear my Packer colors. ln 2014, the tsears initiated the "Fregarne Warm-up Field Credential Experience." Eecause of my status as a club seat PSL holder, I was entitled to two passes for this experience" On September 28, 2AL4,l enjoyed this experience at the Bear/Packer game with my daughter. Both of us wore Packer gear. lt was en absolutely great time. Myself and other Bear season ticket holders were able to stand on the field for the pre-game warmups, in the north end zone, right next to visitor team or. for this Eame, the Packer tunnel-ln 2015, I was able to enjoy this same experience. At the September 13, 2015 BearlPacker garne in Chicago myself and a dear friend, both wearing Paclcer apparel, enjoyed this experience. We stood in the same location as the previous year. During this experience, it was my privilege to share a warrn conversation with Packer President Mark Murphy. I also exchanged pleasantries with and shook your hand, Mr. Goodell. I doubt that ynu remember this encounter since these are very (ommon for you. However, for me, a regular fan of the NFL, it was very cool" (l enclosed a photo of me et this game while I was on the field for that garne. You can see how I was dressed and maybe it will refresh your memory of our encounter.) Rll of thsse experiences, especially the "Pregame Warm-up Field Credential Experience,' offered by the Bears to their Season ticket holders, were excellent. During the off season, I reflected about how great it was to be a season tirket holder for two NFL teams end how fortunate I was to have the foresight to s€t myself up decades earlier when I first put myself an both teams' isa$sn ticket waiting lists. One of nry major motivations in doing this was to establish opportunities for my children and future grandchildren to also enjoy HFL games and experiences. Even though the Packers are my team, I am reatly a fan of the game and all that surrounds it. I believe I am a true example of the suc{ess of the NFL operations mission staternent that I cite in footnote #1 of this letter" ln large part because of the quality of the Bears "Pregame Warm-up Field Credential Experience," in the spring of 2016, t responded to a Bear's offer and purchased personal seat licenses for my three end zone s€ats. Afterthis purchase, I owned personal seat licenses for all of my five Bear season tickets. I was also motivated to purchase these three PSLs in orderto make sure that my Bear tickets, and the included experiences, would be able to be passed down to my children and grandchitdren. On July 13, 2016, I received an email from the Bears notifying me that I earned eleven points in which I could use to purchase experiences for the upmming season. {A copy of this email is also attached to this letter.) On August 1, 2016, the first day that I could book these experiences, I used the official Bears app on my cellular phone and booked three spots forthe "Pre6arne Warm-up field Credential Experience " for the Decernber 18. 2016 Bear/Packer Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 16 of 43 PageID #:16 Exhibi t#/-Page!_ofI reded 2y game. This was a nine point purchase from my earned eleven points. OnTtrat6[e, an email receipt frsm the 8ears. (A copy of this email is also attached to this letter., This August 1, 2016 email receipt frorn the Bears was the last communication that I had with Sears regarding my purchased Oecember 18, 2016 "Pregame Warm-up Field Credential Experience" until I received the December L2,?016 email from the Eears that had specific instructions regarding how to check in *or the experience on game day. lt was in this email that I was, for the first time, notified that opposing team apparel was prohibited. lt was my receipt of this email that was the stert of this disput*.t At the December 18,?016 Bear/Packer gEme, I showed up at the experience rsgistration station with one of my daughters and a friend. I asked both of them to wear no HFL team apparel since I did nst want them to be denied access. Howevet, I chose to wear my Packer gear knowing that I r*ould be denied acc€ss. Ar warned in the December L6, 2016 emall, I was denied access because I was wearin6 Facker apparel. As promised, there was no confrontation. I have the utmott respect for the employees in the Eear Ticket office. They did not rnake this new rule. They are stuck enforci*g h. ' ln his December 16, 2016 email, Brenden Pierce, Bears Direclor of Ticltet Sales and Service wrote the follorring about the prohibition on opposing team apparel rule relating to thir rpecific experience: "--. fhs rules goveming rlre 57lI Experienc*s arc wry dear thor" na vkiting team clothing or sttirc will b< prmitted-This Norfl Endzone *xgeriencc was sor".tifkally creoted as s untque opprtunity for Chicago Eears fans. The terrns pasf€d on &e SfH frperiencas *obile app sycificatly stote ttratl*S yrSfOR &AIHNG will be allowed.* Itake issue roith Mr, Pierce's 3tatement that $l$ rules governing this experien* are very dear. They are certainly not clearly stated. tu indicated, the first I found out about fiis rule rsas in the Dscernb€r la?016 email. This rule $ras not stated in both the July 13, 2016 and August l, 2gt6 emalls from the Bsars. lf it l*as visible when I booked the experienee on the Bears app on August 1, 20lA it was not prominent e*ough for mp tq rrahe note of it. Had h been there and if I saw it, this dirpute would harre started back in August. o. It also bothers me that Mr. Pierce states that thir experi*nce ", was specifically created as a unigue opportunity for Chicago Bears fans." This statement is simply not tru€ and inconsistent with the actual practice in providing is this experience. lf it was true then any and all Eear's fans would be eligible. A lottery would be reguired in order *ut}rque to fill the spots-Wlrat is true is that this r.Wrience was specifically created as a opportunitf for Bear* s€ason ticket holders-lt is now ssld to seapn ticket holders who htve earned enough polnts-This means that I am eligible for this experience because I am a Berr season ticket holder who earns enough points-Further, becaute I own lirre perscnal seat lirenses, I believe t arn being denied, rnithout any logical or reasonable cause, my property rights as a holder of thc psts. Should I be d*nied accesr simply heeause t just happen to be a Pa*er fan? Doe$n't the fuct that the B€ars are Ery second favorite HFt team qualify me as a "8€ars Fan?" Further. Soldier Field is a publically financfd facility which is oramed by the Chicago Park District-lt is not a prirate fucility ourned by the Bears-This fact certaiaty limits urhat restrictions the Eears can place upon their fand free expression rights. lt is clear that this new rule is fraught with legal issues that I hope can all he atroided with common sense intervention by the NFL Also, please know that all ol my intera$io*s with Mr" Pisrse orier the yearr have been exrellent. I have the utmost respect for him and his staff. He is merely doing what his supervisof$ expect him to do. I wauld ba very rurprised if he was not specilically directed what to write in this emeil. Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 17 of 43 PageID #:17 Exhibit # A Because I \ ias not atlowed on the field, I was able to observerrl*"rgni#,t-?T* experienc* frorn the stands. I noted that the participants were in the far part of the northeast end zone. They stood on the paved track that separates the grass fiom the wa{l of the stands. Since the participants stand by the Packer tunnel, the stands directly next to and above the participants are filled with Packer clad fans clamoring for autographs from Packer players and coaches, Just to the south of these participants, right across from the access open point of the tunnel stand large numbers Packer team staff and fans, who were also granted access to the field for the pregame warm-ups. All of these Seople were wearing Pac*er gear. My point is that the participants in this experience are not on a prominent part of the field. From the perspective of a spectator in the stands, there is nothing renrarkable about their physical position on the field, Had any of these participants been wearing opposingteam apparel, they would have also btended in and no oile would have noted anything remarkable about their presence-There are so rnany things and so many people scattered on all parts of the field during the pre-game warm ups, the participants in this experience, regardless of what they are wearing, are simpty r very small part of a visual cacophony, indistinguishable from the other on field activities I believe the Bears would be wtthin their rights to restrict the clothing chokes of season tickets holders who purchase the opportunity to hold the "Bear Dsutr" flag during the Sarne opening introductisns. This is becausa it is a matter of aesthetics for the opening cerernsny, which is an important part of the game. These opening game rituals contribute to the overall fan experience at NFL game*. This is an important goal of trlFl Operation's Mission Statement that is cited in fostnote fl. However, allof the participants in the "Pr€game Warm-up Field Credential Experience' leave the field before any of these official game opening ceremonies take place and are not part of it. Due to this, there is absolutely no legitimate reason for the Bears to restrict the wearing of opposing team apparel by season ticket holders for this "Pregame Warm-up Field CredentiaI Experience"* Please know that it important for me. and I belieue for other true NFL fant that is very such milguided restrictions on fan expression not be allowed" As indicated, I request that you intervene and stop the Sears from implementing this speciftc rule relating to this specific experience next season. would be happy to provid€ any other information that you require a$ you lotlk into this I request. Please contact rne and lwillfully cooperative and provide what you require. I also respectfutly request that you respond to this letter within 60 days from your receipt. I hesitate to impose any type of deadline. However, should you fail to act on this requ*t or decline to intervene, I i*tend to file an action wlth a court seeking an orderthat the Bears change this rule prior to next season. Please know that this is the last thing that I want to do and willonly do so if we cannot come up with an acceptable solution. Should you need time beyond 6O days, upon your request, it would be granted. I want to work with you to solve this problem. I am not motivated by rnoney. I just want to change what I believe is a poorly Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 18 of 43 PageID #:18 Exhibit#1-Page Lof d thought out rule that actually diminishes fnom the experience of all fans and runs contrary to the NFL Operation's Mission Staternent" I appreciate your anticlpeted attention to this matter. I took forward to hearing from you. Best fiegards, fiussell Beckman As a courtesy, this letter and the following attachrnents were sent to Brendan Pisrce, Director of Ticket Sales and Service for the Chicago Bears, as a PDF attachment to an email. What follows is a lirt of the attachments to thir letter; a Email from Bears dated July 13, 1015. {three pages} t Attachment to July 13 2016 email. (one page) I Experience receipt email*om the Bears ori August 1, 2015. (three pages a Ernailfrom Bears dated Decernber 12,2016" {two pages} t Attachment to December 12, 2016 email. {one page} a Email exchange between me and Bears ticket office staff. Oecernber 13-15, 2016 {three pages) Attachment to rny December 13, 2016 emailto the aforementioned December 13-15th exchange. (This is a photo of me and one of my daughters at the Packer/Buceaneers game on Dacember?L 2014. I wore the same outfit to the BearsfPacker game on December 14 2016Xone page) Email exchange betvtreen me and Bre*dan Pierce of the 8sars. Decemher 1&"17. 2015. {three pages} Photo of me at the September X.3, 2015 PackerlSears game while I am was on the field enjoying the "Pregarne Warm-up Field Credential Experience." {one pagel Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 19 of 43 PageID https;r.irng,s111il",vahoo.comineor'launeh?.rcnrl #:19 bdcBtoq2a9j I n#76714?8940 Eubjecl: STH Eperbnces: Upcoming 2015 STH Expenences Dates! From: Chiego Bears Tickets (bearsticket@bears" Exhibit #-4_ To: RBECKMATS2@Y$rOO.COM; Page _Z_of 4 Date: lfi&dn*day, July 13,2018 4:38 PM To vers th& *mail &s n lr€b pag€. gtl}''{rr.J EXCLustrVfr ACCE$$. EVgilITS AI{B PEftI(5 FOR $EASO}I TTCI(ET HOLOERS July 13, 2016 Dear Mr. Beckman. Wth the 2016 season fast approaching, yve are announcing STH Experiences that will be offered throughout the year. Belaw you can find a list of upcomrng experiences that will be available through the Chicago Ofiicial Bears Mobile App on the dates listed. You cureatly have 11 points & usa this Eeason-From your mobile phone, click here to view available events and redeem an experience today!: ui3 IIIIFS:rrrng.millr"vanoo.c$m,,ne&rlaunclll-rand=frdcl{tul f a9j ln,r,/6 i l.l i sy4tl Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 20 of 43 PageID #:20 EE' sx tss tu$ o.:tt frtr "fillore Halas Hall events will be offercd throughout the season for 2-4 points per person. Please remember all expriences are first come, first served,* Need help accessing your account or navigating the STH Experiences App? Call I ofi lili:{,}17 8:24 PN,l nfips:/rmg.m&l,y{n0o.cffilncdlamcll?-r5t{lsD(5fioqla? In#,o, I.},tr rlu Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 21 of 43 PageID #:21 (847) 615-2327 to speak wilfr a Ticr(efi $ervims Representative. Ch*ryo Bear licket Sale* & Smtice Exhibit # A (s44 615-SEAR t232fi Trckeil-Offi ce@Bears. Page rfu CHTCAEOBEAH 3 of3 tlllz$t1 8:24 FM Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 22 of 43 PageID #:22 Exhibft#1 Page p oT/V S'I}l's a$d gr.€Bts ml6t ut€ their g*ne ticleB b rctpJ rlF 9tadiun.]he Ctricnp 8e0r* $rd not h $Sdyftq {ooE t ctrts. or*y tisld rredent;ds. 0rlcE l&r've beGn scarxted irfo ths Eisdim u*h fffia ticlwt& c.hfcft-{r1 S fie t@ffiirr3,rrxfi Gate I bv the ekrrator fi tlle StrJ& Certyartl ibu mEt tdfig lmrr regittared snst F€ne h rsdser'r yo$ fE d cttdffifiuh, Fadd Credentid p*tr.up: tHI EliCfr,trltrffdeefffisererf 6atf Sl a l&tn prB lG!$-t&s0 trr! 3J$ prtl t?$.t:45 pm a E E 7.q0 pm 72O-7:30 pm $;15-5:m $ilt 5:33-S:50 prr IF F AS of s,F $rrc atd guests wdl Ee esmrted to ths ftrld lfi€l 0y * Cn cago Ba(r EI * Iicla 0f fir:e reotPreitrtiw" E f; ttxr iliU$I hare yor qane tictrt wi01 llou at dl ti*res drring yw* pftqr{nc flcld vsrf efid h*,lE youJ p,tlem Fistd F.l€$ yi$ibh_ Bur.$ts rflu$t c{mFht? a v/tr,*r(pareot&nar{tlari for ctd&fn udff lg} It a chald w$ be Iqn $,36t on tite fisH, tlsl nilsi be s rBn {10}}rrrs {rrJ. All sIH Pfegr€rn€ ltsntqp Fldd Pes$ gil€s*s $r6t ffmdn fi the.k dB3isnated rBrB al tht nryth ('ndloflc. F6od arld bow'{€s are r:ot p€rrilit&d ct th€ ffi. st{ohotoqrasfty,s pe{mrttEd. t*o autoqsapfis or t6lkFE ilith the plE Prs. Yru wi$ b* notifio{shm it i,5 tFrle rs exrt the f.ield Sy scslrrty. Pbase En& fli*l rnyqurstion* ($aDsr6-232, GATIO Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 23 of 43 PageID #:23 httpr:l/mg meil.yahero c*ralnedltlrnch?.ran&7g6anil 9tqft #?36.-" SrSpci: Huese{Beclwsn, tris is your recei* from Chicaqo Bcars v$. 6reen Bay Packets on Oecernber Fmrn: Experience([] To;; Exhibit#L lhtr: [iorday, AqBust 1. ml8 12S0 Pl,l Page lLot I Enioyps t&grsdet Congrats! We hope ycu have an awgsorne tinp" Your Older Fummary Pregarne Wanrrup Field Sradentials Group Size:3 Chicago tsears w. Green Bay Packers Event Date: Drcmber 8, 2016 I Bears $TH Points used You have 2 Bmrs STH Points remaining" Your redemption came with the lollowing instructions: Thank you for rcd*aming your Pregame ttlbrn-up Fidd experience! You will be conbct*d via email bry a mernber of the Bearr Tickat Sales and $ervice Taem with furBterdehit$ shorty. Yierr my rcdernption I of 3 l/l/l?-$:}lt PM Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 24 of 43 PageID #:24 Print htryn:ifuigrnEil.vahoororr/odlmmh?-rad=7qfu?2il9sqltfi86.." tiflq!# I do nerf? To your upgr#e at the 6v6nt, you Exhibit#-L can elick here on an iPtrcne orAndroid plpne, or follow the irmffucthns bebw. Page LofZI Strp 1: Openthaapp orwebsiteyou used to re&€{n}nour Beers STH Points 0n yorJr iPh$rG orAndrpid phCIne $fep *Select the evwt where you made your redemptfo:n $tap 3: &rter your infio incltding the ernail ddresa rbeckmm$Z$yatno.corn and tap'show msthsgoods" Step 4; $ebctyoLB upgade *thetop ol Fan HQ, and present this screen at fie evemto redBem Flease rerfierrlber tlwt you'll ttill tleed a separafe pfimry dc,(et tp entsfhe st€nt and us,our up$radp {rnless ofien ris $ansd. Ask a que$tion Nesd help? Have some fcedback? Want sorrwreto chat tffith? Sfpot us an ernail at lislen€erpaptroom Share your experlence Tffeet a photo{iom theevert on'lirifier or lnstagrxrr, and tag us $ExpApp Follor the Chicago ffi 3 of3 llXll?,l{:.}8 PM Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 25 of 43 PageID #:25 PrId!t6:fqg rasiLytusmfmorhd?-rr#?dr?Al9r#fJS6... ft6r$t$ Gtrl{80rdtEtt esktuE # 4rfit ar*rd" ftluiiI tb*f I tdsi CEn* I kfi*i* Fe,tdt*6 Exhibit#L Page tTof ZJ rusllofranrrgraf &r$&q-lgrrrrrrf $*s6lr8$fl*r6o frff dt*r?,4e a pu twy tm E twie ptr'/ciw (q tr,riltElfirrilB M r, o'rtlffij) at gffi,rttl **s d ryt*f Efltu& FLE/ISE JiDI:F.: Fr}IrirY'rc &o#mryta 0tu*ddramrsri,{lr$@rhdpnfiei'!*r$.f tt &rd k ltrt,,tro&chot/a$ Eryrix.' futrrdr *E lrrfir.nd ondtoncanrwrrpfu rm. *farfum Crad e nu/&'a0f;si&&, n06rd{rffi& {nf &s*,*r cdi r{lrF *ndl&kof me Epelrrrr rya*m, Erpadarx fud mryeaffi **y n F*tl18EtrE il ltFEttu rdt frfrydrry,Ettt,r, Eryotye Glad ryncs I fi*sld6{fre#6qfagrm6f$ry.kffi tr$r*Fr[uerirpr haw s #aad smn, Bpufuno {h* ffi t+lrrfu e ts firr*d €q*"$ dfia lgrt a&b or{sqrriEd, Itdr eo rtrygmr fitr*ffiddrc $atp Fry*w W r# rry*a a+r affirrd tffi d X$twi ht {* trseNrr$ de E$ofsr* ffi s*r tr*no rsd *} n6 ErFrrfrE $rri$r aaEsrirufus. 3 of3 lll/t?,*:1*PM Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 26 of 43 PageID #:26 hups#mg.mail "yetrco crn/ncoflau*cb? rad;7q6*?2i I 9sqlkf4?{.. Sulpct Pregame Wantrup Field Passm-8EARS vs. Paclserc 12-18'16 Exhibit#A From: To; llcket Offbe-CHl (Ticket.Offm@Bears.ntl.nat) Tlctcet Page llfi.l Oate lronday, Orcrnber t2,20t6 4SI PU Dear Season Ticket Holder. Tha$k you for rcgistering tbr an exclusive STH Expcrience! 1#e look forward to sming y<ru tor pregffne wefln-ups forrhe BEARS vs. Packers geme next Sunday, Dcreember tte. Pteaw fintl important directions and guidclines altached. To acoess your $TH Bxperic,re pa*er, plcree ctieBjl* S on yaur smrrt pho*e". Once you've been scanned into the:fadium with ycur ticket {l would suggest entering Gate 0}, check in b*ween 10:15 AM and 10:30 AM *t the SfH Experiences table across from 6ate I hy the elerrator in the South Courtyad {map attached}-' Acce5s to the field level will begin no earli*-r than 10:30 AM.-YoumustbrirqyorrrcfffiEr€dmotgtrphanetorlrednck-in. Artrtrrremhlr*{lld(toualklste your e.crsdential xithin the StH Expedano:r App.-lf a child will be yourgue*t on the ffeld, th* child must be at least ten t10l years old. " NO OPPOSII'IG TEAM 6EAR Wltt ALt0l/t ED. BE-l1:fi) AM is the lat€st possible time to ch*ck in. Participants wfto arrive after 11:0O AM will not be allowed to participate. **The Prqeme lYarm.Up Fhld Psxo Fxptrime is veathcr pernitting. $hould tk ffpericme be renffi,rt wiil smsil $ou amrdiuglp ** lf you arc unable to participat*" ple*se re.ply to thir e-mail sa aaother SeasCIn Ticket Holder cirn rcdeem this experience. Should you have any questions. contact thc Chicago Bears Tieket Serviees Team at (Sa?) 615-2337. I of2 lllt17,8:51 AM Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 27 of 43 PageID #:27 *e,odt+,$oq.sffithffieqi&f tlgd#rra* Mrry$:&rpryq,ryq4ree@p$e *.$ m.f,r$Et@Exhibit#L Pagerl ot Zy fisS$tffii A, " Gffi{r-rcS,Nr} llttt? *&{Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 28 of 43 PageID #:28,IT qE:,H 6 EF E[s E E oro = tr 2 HE g $ ir $ a EE EE i$s$HH;HE E gfr E ET N= {:r:i= =i)*i^ B ii il 'rc * = g gE r r qg H# 3 tt* 3n t, It <-o,;EgEI--J-L EE d; O II * *.= 3 a * ea I-rl t!!=fr dfD S EFEEgEEEEEETEH*EgBEa E o. = o EA f::: ul *1: ZI oEi *E & (ir aEea€€ i *.fiEi[[=='*E E F eg[€A E* I 5,D 3 E \i ii *g gsi aa i E ==] =68 &93 =i,i il6 =.D: s d 86 i= F CL cr o. H +?? P=' 6-b F E oE.< fi=P Ed 6q ill at, rs aa E. 3 E =6Eas i[g fE E= s E E3= g.FE*g F d o 5 E E "E-n Fo FE ei*-+ fH lI S e lt=--r sB E E*' 9E = e,I Exhibit#A_ E; rr O H Ei, s? 5r! r> F fu tr6tou!9 TI Page i(-of ZX ff.* l>. a fiffiKffiSr!ffi 3 IE.{rlt lr* a;r 3 tr I (il T: tm HilI E e, II u Ir erB I rI HE =* SffiEtrEEIIffi rt EH Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 29 of 43 PageID #:29 h*pr:/*h?sand=?qSa??i I kqft#? I 3.., Print Subiec* Re: Cor.rld you phase fonrard this to Allison Fnnrr: Russell Beckrnan {rbeckrnanS2@yahoo"mm} Exhibit #_L To: Slison.Brauer@Beil$.nfi"net; Thursday, Deqer*b€r 15. 2016 8.t9 AM Page fl-of H Hello Allison: I hope you are well and staying warm. I have not heard from your supervisor Elrendan regarding this matter I do not know if it stipped his rnind or his failure to callme is intentional. I am still hoping he willcall me sa that we can discuss and attempt to rcsolve this important issue, Please know that at ttris tirne, I intend to show up at the check-in table in rny Prcker attim and prop€r cr#entials so that my famis and I can enioy this experience-If I am denied the opportunity to participate due to my choice of cloitfring, I will rmpectfully and polttely obiect to your denial. Uttimately, I will comply with your denial despite my obiection. There will be no need to have security present since I will be civil. Please note that my kindnees do6 not mean that I do not take this matter seriously. lf I am denied, I plan to file a civilaction against the Chicago Bears in orderto prevent this harn-handed and ill conceived rule frsm being enforced next season. Quite honestty, the rule reflects very pocrly on the Bear's organization-I flnd it sad that rny na$le appears on the wall that lists the names of allcharter Ghicago Bears personal seat license holders at Soldier Field, yet I am hreing denied this oppcrtunity. This is simpty wrong and is cmrtrary to the ethos of good sport$Tanship and friendly cornpetition. $/hy do we have to continue to segrognte each other based on our differences, even if the difference is simply supporting the visiting team? Iam still hoping that this legal conflict can be avoided. I would like to talk to Brendan. I am avaitable after 5pm today and after 3pm on Friday. As I indicated to yau verbally, I appreciate and respect the work that 1lou do and my dispute is with your en:$oyer, not you-Bmt Regards, Russell Beckman On Tuesday, December 13, 2016 10:55 AM. Allison Eraus<>wrote: I of 3 lJlll7.8:35 A-Sl Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 30 of 43 PageID #:30 *qft#7 3.., hre,s:llmg.mail "yaboo.con#nco/l*r"P3'6sl=7q6472i I t Hi Hussell-I appreciate you reching o$t I willforward thh overto my suparvisor, Erendan, Eo he is aware. Thank you! Exhibi t # A A[ison Brouer Premium Seot Sales & Services Coordlnotor Page Ltrfu Chicogo Beors Footboll Club l?20 FootbollDr Loke Forest, lL 60O45 Phone: 847.739-5313 Altison.Bro uer@Beors, # cHrcAEo swLE F',TEALL B *@l, This message contains confidentkl irrformation and is intended only for the individual named. lf you are not the named addressee you should nat disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail. Please notifii the sender immediatety by e-mail if you have received this e-mail by mistake and delete this e-mail tom your system. E-maittransmis$ion cannot be guaranted to be secure or er&rr-free as information couH be interceptod, com:pted, b$t, destnryed, arrive late or incomplete, or contain viruses. The sender thsefore doeE not accept liability for any effotB or omissions in the contenB of this mes$age, which arise as a reeult of e-mailtransmission. lf verification is required please rcquest a hatd-copy version. From: Autumn Swinddl S6nt Tumday, &cenrber 13,2016 10:08 AM To: Alison tsrauer <Allison-Brauer&Bearc nfl "nst> Cc'rb€' <rbecknan620yahoo.oom> Srdli€c* FllV: Could you please fonrard this to Allison Allison-Please see hlow frorn Russell-Thanks, Autumn Fronr: Russell Beclsnan fnailto.dreekm*n$E@va*po,con]} S6fit fuesOay, kernhr 13,401610:06 AM To: Autumn $windell<ai[unryn-.S]"viQ5 .e,l. >; Autumn Swindell <autumn. $qi ndel!4$A(s. Ttl, ne'!> S&ieet Could you please fonrrard this to Allison 2 of 3 ltttl'l,8:35 AM Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 31 of 43 PageID #:31 I 9s{kff I 3'.. Exhibit # A Hello Autumn: Page $rQl Thank you for fonnrading me to Alliscrr. I wanted io send her an Email, I did not have it in my corfiact tist. lf you cor:ld forward this to her, I would appreciate iL Hello Allison: Thank you for being so decent during our com/ets.*ion. I wanted to share a photo of you with exactly what I will be wearing when I go to the garne this Sunday. This photo was taken in Tampatwo yeals ago. The youflg woman in the photo with me is my daughter. $he will also be attending the game with me on $unday. This Sunday, we will have m$re layers underneath our Packs apparel, but this will he what is on the outside. Maybe you could share tris photo with the suparvisor who urill be calling me later. One thing I did not toll you during our very nice conversation is that I also do not drink. This is imporlant because I also do not apprecifie drunksr fans of any side who want b mix it up-I look forward to talking with your eupervisor. Best, Hussell Beckman Afiachmmts. imagcl 36dba-PNG (4.40K8) lof3 l/1117. S:35 AM Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 32 of 43 PageID #:32 8{u #A *r-Print Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 33 of 43 PageID #:33 htgallmg.nrail.yahoocomlilodl*unsh?.rand=?qfa72i I 9sqtk#936,... Sub@: Re: BEARS vs. Pdters-December 1S,2016 Exhibit#J From: FlussellB€ckman( Page?l of{To: Brardan.; Cc: Data: Saturday" December 17,20161:$'t AM Hello Brendan: Thank your for the kind, tmpectful, and profeseional manner in which you have dealt uyith this disagreenrent. Please know that I intend to continue to act in the same mann€r, despite our contrary positions" Iwould like to note that my prirnary intention in calling your office this past yrreek was to seek to resolve this matter in an amicable manner. The way in which you worded yorr email creates an illusion that I only sought to state to Allison rny intent to defu your rule. My call was astually a goed faith effort to try and find a solution to a problenr. Your email makes it very clearthat I will be denied asces€ to the experience if I wear my Packer gear. I will be wearing my Packer gear to the gnrne. Because of your very clear denial in this email, tivhen I show up at the check in t*ble, I will not ask if I can be admitted to the experience. My only reason for showing up at th* check-in site will be to check in my two guests who will be participating in tha experience-Please note that my decision to not ask to be admitted to ths experience this Sunday is only because of your very claarly stated notice that I will be denied admission. lt should, in no way, be interpreted that I am acquiescing to this rule without objection. Ultimate{y, the legality of ytrur rule will be decided by a court of law in the off-season when I file my action. My two guests are not Bear fans. However, both will be wearing full civilian attire that will devoid of any synrbolism of any NFL team. I am not aurarc ol any loyafty test or oath to Sre Eears that my two guests rnust padake in orderto enioy this exp,aisnce. lf such test or oath is required, prior notice would be appfleciatd. I have also purchased passes for the Midway Presented by Xfinrty for my guets and t. I found nothing in it's rules that indicate I can not wear my Packer gear into that 'experieflce." Of course, I paid for the passes and will purchase food and beverages in that vanue using my green and gold "Packer NLF Extra Points" Msa card. Will your bartenders refuse to accept that card and insist that I pay with a Bear version of this card? I doubt it. However, that could change next season as your team continues to move towards the creation of sagregatad safe spaces for Bear fans who suffer from anxiety due to the presence of greater numbers ol opposing fans in your publicly owned and financed stadium. Plmse know that you really do not understand that your fans are tough, rosilient, and worthy ol my respect" Maybe you should also respect them, their grit, and stop coddling thern. A few years ago, the Tampa Bay t nf-{l/l/17, E:]0 AM Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 34 of 43 PageID #:34 hup,s:/*7q6a72i I%qfk#93*..-Lighting became the lauqhing stoek of the Gity of Bmad Shoulders and the rcst of the country FU F' when they banned Black Hawk jerseys in thdr ve{lue. How did that work out for them? s oe x D-(D E. Maybe sometirne I can sit down with your brain trust and have a few beers. I could show I-f. them two years worth of photos and videos of me on the field watching the pre-gams warn FI:tt IF ups in full Packer colors, standing ann and arm with Bear fans proudly wearing Bear colors, f*l c together basking in the glory of what is arguabty the NFL's most storied rivalry Why mess tc l> INJ with that and who benefits from the meddling? Your fans would be much better served if you would build your t6am so that th6e two great teams can play great garnes against each other again at Soldier Fietd" I had the pnvileEe to w#h the 2011 NFC Championship game and the 2013 game that decided who won the NFC North in your house with my season tickets. Since I have five personal seat licenses in your venue" I look for$/ard to a firtrrre in which gamee like those happen trequentty" It is sad that whlle Bear's managentent drmses windows its fans are dumping thousands of tickets on the secondary ma*et at below face value. The majonty of fans at Sunday's game will be Packer fans lured into your venue by the fire sale on tickets. Trust me when ltell you that a winning Bears team would bring tremendous joy to both your fans and to me-True Bear and Packer fans love the excitement of meaningful games and the intensity of the rivalry. Please know that my interaction with you and your staff on $unday will be respecttul and civil-I have no personal issues with you or any of your staff. I am &eated very weil by thern and I will rceiprocate. My issue is with the Bear organization, not its ernployees. Also, the snarkiness of some of my language in this rcspons€ is not meant to be disrespectful. lt is intended to illustrate the folly of this nevrly imposed rule" Best Regards, Bussell Beckman On Frirtlay, Deoembs 1S. 2016 5:05 PM, Erendan Pierm <Brendan.Piarce@Bear$> wrole: Mr. Beckman, Please allow this email to confirm our conversation on Eecember 15, 20'16, wtrerein I reiterated to you the rules that apply to our Progame \IVarm-up Field Credential Experience. Yoq,, redeemed yor'rr STH Experiences points for the Pre-game Warm-up Fidcl Experlerm in the Nor& Endzone for this Surday, Decemher 18" 201S against the Green Bay Packers. You subseqr.enUy called &e ticket offree this week and advised that despite the rules goveming th€ STH Experiencos you intandsd on wearing Greec Bay Packers attire when you attend the garne to rcdeern this oxperience. While you arc Grteinly lree to $rlpport the vi*iting team and urear Grwn Bay Packes gear as a pafon at the garter the rules (pvemnq the STH Experbnce* are vary dear tfut rE visiiirrg taam clothing or attire wiil ba permitted. This Nor$ €ndzone experience rms specifically created as a unique opportun*y for Ghic*go Bears fans, The term$ posted on the $TH Experiences mobile app specificalty state that NO VISTOR CLOTHING will bs allCIw€d. ln addition, ths confirmation emailthat was wnt to tou or! Dsc€mb€r 12, 2016 furtherstat€E'N0 2of,1 lllf l7.Srl0AM Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 35crmlncc,Ilaumh? htqr/lmg-rrail-yaho of 43 PageID #:35 rxndr7qfa?2i I 9sqftr936--. OPPOSING TEAM GEAR WLL BE ALLOWED." Finally, thp tenns of purchase ge{rerr*ng the STH Exporiwrces redernptlons providethattheexperbue iszubiectto additimal tenmthat rnary beset bythe organ'ization and that the Chicags Bears have tle right, $ftf&$ refund or any anmlnt paid, to refue admission to, or eject any p€r6on... who fuils to cornply with r*enue sr svent pmnmler ndea. Thercforc, this ernail will osrfirm that yru frar* be+n adrtid of the ter*p and condition* of fie STH Experi*nqec and thd il you attemptto redeern tfre FrogameWarm-up Hdd Cr€d6r{id Expedene while wearing any vi*iling tearn afiire, yair arlrnissio,n to this *xper*mm will b6 derded. Pleasa let me lmow if yotr havo any olhar questions. Thankyou. Brcrdur Exhibit # 4 Erendon Pierce Page Lof Z! Director of Ticket Soles ond Service Chicago Beors Footboll Club 1920 FootbollDr Lske Forest, lL 60045 Phone: 847.739.5333 # cHrcAril srYLE FooTBALL re r@* This mmage contains confidential informaton and ie intended only for the individual named. lf you are not the named addrcsse you drould not disseminate, distribute or copy this e-mail. Please notify the sender immediately by e-mail if you have received this e-mail by misfiake and delete this *"mail*om your system. E-mail transnission cannot bc guarante€d to be securs or error-tee as irformatbn muld be intarcepted, comrptod. lost, destroyed, arivs late or incomplete, or contain viruses. The smder therufore does not aecept liabilify for any eflors or ornissions in the contents of this messa{,e, which arise as a result of *"mail trgsrnission. lf verification is requird plmse request a hard-copy version. Attnchments. imaSe6TScBc.PNG {4.4OKBi 3 of3 I/l/17.E:3tlAM Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 36 of 43 PageID #:36 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 37 of 43 PageID #:37 Exhibit B Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 38 of 43 PageID #:38 Exhibit# B t.,il tfi,7^,,.Page fiA{;lNt f-of L 1iil0 l,lHftY AVt i{Al)INt. rL tft,g rrl ir3il$fi SJIIS {5&Ertilt{Hdt, J r;: t)1 itilil,'/Ill I tsrr)?I: till/:t'.$ Pl{rrr r.t ls.3fl rO EI f\ tx\x t lale f iml tn**ri-ttlfr 'rh 0est.r iptiur Oty lt ire rt c! ct Utl I{1r' 10.5" 1 $1.1$ t3 xlo ithit h i(e:$1,19) trl l?,?$ i i ir',it Clall; 1 $2 Xt ra rtail il large finvelope {[kmct ic i-o t{{t'&l{YtltlK. ilY l$tkl} g (ifei$t:0 lh tr.5tt (ta] tL iliper red Oel ive, y [}ay) tFr iday {r1/u$l?017} Cerlified 1 S3:ltl tml#t 0ertitied l{ail *i i l$1ii? 14{XX l)81 SB5*,7) lt} 1 ltetunr I $:r I0 s Receipt tmi'jP5 lteturn R*eipt #) 5 E (95fl]9402 1646 t9$3&13P,6) I 5 E, 3 o Total s9.39 a o!E ll * &tE d,l Fer rrrrl.iP,rs l"lrtx k $1) 3$ Etl otrII E EE fext yflB tt nr.l..irU t*mtrrt tu 'itl'll t! (2iJltlCi tc pet the lstt*l r;tatus. Eg 'rt,atrla{tj lkssatl* rrrrl hat,t, &t*t ilgy,Et $ to r apoly Yott pa'r' olso visil lfr{r'i,t.rm ljlFi Tror-;kitg rx rell I f{I}:ryJ 1*11. iE$ t8= $r EE t$E * stE Ilt a truutU1 l*lf '"t; uit.e kis*L: of frx q rXrirk flrl e.i:y {"i${t-r{tt &rv Retai I c Ar;srx iBte rtin *ure yqt trr*. lsE $ ET uinO 8r-no f*t*tttf, ti**tirttt*ixitta trrtx*l lrrl*l rnt BRTS{IU'd fr}{0ilfi' "'; [AILB0X. {ireeti ftg ol (ar {ii* nvf,i ld.rl e ftx t:ur ri*rc ert reler' t R_ r,!l Iail PsEt 0fficeg. F1 I i, Xrxll*l**trf,f*r'rYIX ltf*r lI* *tlltttttt \\, Y30--.O 6 l *: \-S;-ffi co trl d ilrrlal lt*lttr at ttq*, r.(rtB.,':'1h1, tx tall:_1 tg 1 ffi0'5tarrpl4 ri* to \-L2 lo g lr"Se. t qm/r". 1 i rkltil i p tr: tr i rit dri l4ri trS i*lEl'; $illr uosta$e. f($ {}tixlr irrfrrnal jun r al I I iiit{} A',1{t}tlPr '\:e (s-\. *ffi*:cr * lEf! &,tatd Io lcrrO rtlx**tTt**tI*f,trrx r* xxEl tr:rrrxrl r t tf, r [ht your mai I *en arxl rhere you Hant \^?$0:ot b=s =E F= [ru lca l* l--it ri th 6 sa(rro Por,t Off lru Box. liigrr \Ir ^h\ r_\I\:dr-q * i* ft3 w fcl' a hox rxrl it* et \I-) ^ il! usos. cor#poboxe$. rlf ttrttrf, *tt*rrtitttt*tt*t*tiit**lrrti rt L$-X fJ: =H E e Al I uult* f inol r*r!14ffi15 drrl p{}:,ta$) 3ffi$,$rl\ (D o-Heftutrh fcr gufi.rtrl*ed:,er vir;rl, unly Itrr'ft yrru fix' yrxr trurin*.x'r.r t{LP rs}f"tivt Y0u lfi.iltH I[tl tf, AB{X,I YUi{l,ittiHl Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 39 of 43 PageID #:39 Exhibit// l# l8/;*+.., Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: https: 06/16/17 Page 40 of 43 PageID #:40,. Subiect: STH Experiences:2017 Points and Events Available Exhibit # e From: Chicago Bears Tlckets ( Page Lof L To: RBEC KMAN62@YAHOO.COM; Date: lVlonday, May 15, 2017 5:11 PM To view this email as a web page, go here. EXCLI'sIVE ACCEss, EVEIITS ANO FERKS FOR SEASOI{TIEKET HOLDERS May 1 5,2017 Dear Mr. Beckman, New STH Experiences are now available for the 2017 season! As a valued STH, you can once again register for STH Experiences and take advantage of the free benefits program that delivers exclusive access, events and perks to you throughout the year. Don't miss out on private Halas Hall events, pregame field access, STH swag and more! You have been credited with 12 points to use by February 1"1, 2018. Please visit STH Central to view calendars, schedules and additional STH Experiences updates. Also, be sure to sign up for text alerts in the app to receive notifications when new events become available. Experiences are available on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information visit, you have any questions, please contact our Ticket Services Team at!f 847$1s-BEAR (2327). Chicago Bears Ticket Sales & Service I of2 5126117,8:19AM &iil h@://ry-mail.yfu.oom/usonsltre?rffi tv162q1d(gq1#18494... Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 41 of 43 PageID #:41 Ticket. Office@Bears. nf Exhibit #C@OHIBwSSTH Pryel,m 2of 2 slffilt?,&19AM Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 42 of 43 PageID #:42 Exhibit Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 1 Filed: 06/16/17 Page 43 of 43 PageID #:43 Fg srxta, 18= r9,-l l-ir (-eack to shop!. 6.ITE fl= Pregame Warm-up Field Credential AVAILABLE ON U1117 AT 12:00 PM Sunday, November 12th,2A17 al 12:00 PM Kick-off a game with the Bears by standing on the field during pre-game! Don-t miss this incredible opportunity to be up close and personal during warmups as you stand in the North Endzone! Things to know:. Further instructions provided week of the game via email. Must arrive 75 minutes before kickotf behind Gate 8. Children must be 10 years old. This experience is weather permitting. No visiting team clothing allowed. # Home oOo Team tr Sc hed ule G Umrr, Gameday ffi More

MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order: For the reasons stated, defendants' motion to dismiss and strike, ECF No. 18, is granted in part and denied in part. The complaint, ECF No. 6, against the NFL is dismissed without prejudice for lack of standing, and Beckman's class action allegations are withdrawn. Plaintiff Russell Beckman may file an amended complaint on or before April 23, 2018. A status conference is set for May 9, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. Signed by the Honorable Joan B. Gottschall on 3/30/2018. Mailed notice

Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 1 of 25 PageID #:353 UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE NORTHERN DISTRICT OF ILLINOIS EASTERN DIVISION RUSSELL BECKMAN,)) Plaintiff,)) Case No. 17 C 4551 v.)) Judge Joan B. Gottschall CHICAGO BEAR FOOTBALL CLUB, INC.,) and NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE,)) Defendants.) MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER It has been remarked that, at least in some parts of the United States, football is "next to religion, except for some people who [a]re really serious about football." President Clinton, Remarks by President After Viewing Movie - Remember the Titans (Sept. 26, 2000), available at 2000 WL 1424688, *1. This case about a fan's efforts to wear the gear of the team he supports arises under the First Amendment's free speech clause. The plaintiff, Russell Beckman ("Beckman"), has sued the Chicago Bears Football Club, Inc. ("Bears") and the National Football Association ("NFL"). He represents himself. On December 18, 2016, the Bears' staff allegedly denied Beckman entry into a Bears' pre-game experience at Soldier Field in Chicago because he was wearing Green Bay Packers (the Bears' opponent that day) clothing. Compl. ¶¶ III.A, B, ECF No. 1. Beckman seeks injunctive relief and court filing and service fees associated with this lawsuit. Compl. ¶¶ V.14, 15. Defendants move under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction and for failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted. The court concludes that Beckman has not established that he has standing to sue the NFL, but the complaint states a First Amendment claim against the Bears. Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 2 of 25 PageID #:354 I. FACTS For purposes of deciding defendants' motion, the court assumes the following facts alleged in Beckman's complaint are true and draws all reasonable inferences from those facts in his favor. See, e.g., Manistee Apartments, LLC v. City of Chicago, 844 F.3d 630, 633 (7th Cir. 2016). A. The Bears Prevent Beckman from Participating in a Season Ticket Holder Experience While Wearing Packers Gear Beckman is a personal seat license ("PSL") owner with season tickets to the Bears. Compl. ¶ III.C.1. From the Permit and Operating Agreement (the "Operating Agreement") and the Complaint, it appears Beckman is an "Initial Football PSL Licensee." Under the Operating Agreement, an "Initial Football PSL," means "the Football PSLs initially to be sold in connection with the financing of the Project and which are sold prior to the Final Completion." Resp. to Mot. to Dismiss ("Resp."), Ex. 1 at 11, ECF No. 24-1. The "Project," refers to the "adaptive reuse of Soldier Field." Id. at 14. Beckman is likely an "Initial Football PSL Licensee," because the Chicago Park District "started a nearly one billion dollar renovation of Soldier Field to accommodate the Chicago Bears," and Beckman "was offered an opportunity to purchase personal seat licenses in the new Bears home stadium." Compl., Ex. A at 2. Subsequently, Beckman "purchased two club seat personal seat licenses and obtained three other non-PSL seats in the south end zone." Id. Beckman claims the Bears and the NFL violated his First Amendment right to free speech when he was denied access to the Bears' Pre-Game Warm-up Field Credential Experience ("PWFCE") because he was "dressed in opposing team gear." Compl. ¶ III.C.10. The PWFCE is part of a "program to reward season ticket holders," that was formally created by the Bears 2 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 3 of 25 PageID #:355 prior to the 2016 football season. Id. ¶ III.C.3. Through the program, the Bears exclusively "reward" all Chicago Bears Season Ticket Holders ("STHs") with "points." Id. ¶¶ III.C.3, C.7. STHs can then redeem their points for "experiences," like the PWFCE. Id. ¶ III.C.3. The PWFCE provides STHs and their guests the opportunity to walk and stand on the northeast corner and end zone of the Bears' playing field in Soldier Field during pre-game warm- ups. Compl., Ex A 10, Ex. D 1. The PWFCE credential, but not the "field pass," id., Ex. A 16, provides that "[n]o visiting team clothing is allowed," Compl. Ex. D 1, as does the PWFCE registration confirmation email, id. Ex. A 14–15 ("NO OPPOSING TEAM GEAR WILL BE ALLOWED"), and terms within the STH Experiences mobile application, id. Ex. A 22 ("The terms posted on the STH Experiences mobile app specifically state that NO VISITOR CLOTHING will be allowed."). Additionally, the Bears assert that the STH Experiences are "subject to additional terms that may be set by the organization," including the "right, without refund or any amount paid, to refuse admission to, or eject any person. . . who fails to comply with venue or event promoter rules" as indicated on the "terms of purchase governing the STH Experiences redemptions." Id. pp. 26–27 (ellipsis in original). Beckman received an email from the Bears on July 13, 2016, stating he had been awarded eleven points he could "use to purchase 'experiences,'" which he used 1 to "purchase three spots for the 'pregame warm-up field experience,'" for the Bears versus Packers game that would take place on December 18, 2016. Compl. ¶ III.C.3. Shortly before the December 18, 2016, game, Beckman received an email from the Bears 2 advising that "NO OPPOSING TEAM GEAR WILL BE ALLOWED," during the PWFCE on December 18, 2016. Id. ¶ III.C.4. 1 On August 1, 2016. Compl. ¶ III.C.3. 2 On December 12, 2016. Compl. ¶ III.C.3. 3 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 4 of 25 PageID #:356 Beckman "informed the Bears that [he] would show up to the experience registration," wearing Packer clothing. Id. ¶ III.C.5. He was "denied participation in the experience." Id. B. Beckman Writes the NFL Commissioner Beckman wrote NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell seeking Goodell's assistance in getting the Bears to stop enforcing their rule against visiting team apparel. Id. ¶ III.C.6. Goodell did not respond. Id. C. Beckman Alleges That the Denial is Likely to Repeat Every Year Since the December 2016 game, Beckman has received additional offers to participate in Bears' experiences with his accrued points. Id. ¶ III.C.7. He characterizes this as a "repeatable annual event." Id. ¶ III.B. Indeed, the complaint states that Beckman received an email telling him he had 12 points for the 2017 season, and he intended to use them to purchase PWFCEs for the Bears-Packers game scheduled for November 12, 2017. Id. ¶ III.C.7. The Bears mobile app stated "[n]o visiting team clothing" was allowed at any game in the 2017 season. Id. ¶ III.C.7, 8. The Bears play the Packers at Soldier Field once each regular season according to the complaint and Beckman states that he has always worn Packer apparel to the team's home and away games. Compl. IV.12 (adding that this is "a long time tradition" for his family). Beckman purchased his season tickets in large part because he wanted to have the chance to enjoy the PWFCE with his friends and family, including future grandchildren. Id. ¶ III.C.2. D. Soldier Field and the Operating Agreement The Bears 3 play home games at Soldier Field in Chicago. Resp. 9–10. Soldier Field is "a publicly financed facility owned by the Chicago Park District ("CPD")." Resp. 12. The Bears 3 Also referred to as the "Club." 4 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 5 of 25 PageID #:357 lease Soldier Field from the CPD under the Operating Agreement, which stipulates, among other conditions, that the Club must pay an annual "Facility Fee," 4 to use the field. Resp., Ex. 1 at 45– 46; see also Resp. 2, 8; Reply 6–7. According to the Operating Agreement, "the CPD shall be obligated to perform and pay the cost of all Routine Maintenance." 5 Response, Ex. 1 at 59. The CPD is also responsible for "performance and payment of security and crowd control on Game Days," 6 with the exceptions of the "locker room[s], Team Areas and the Field." Resp., Ex. 1 at 70; Reply 6–7. II. LEGAL STANDARDS Though the briefs discuss only the Rule 12(b)(6) standard, the NFL's standing challenge must be analyzed as a motion to dismiss for lack of subject matter jurisdiction under Rule 12(b)(1). See, e.g., Taylor v. McCament, 875 F.3d 849, 853 (7th Cir. 2017). The court therefore examines both standards. A. Subject Matter Jurisdiction (Rule 12(b)(1)) A Rule 12(b)(1) motion to dismiss allows a party to challenge the existence of subject matter jurisdiction. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1). A Rule 12(b)(1) motion raises either a facial or factual challenge to subject matter jurisdiction. Silha v. ACT, Inc., 807 F.3d 169, 173 (7th Cir. 2015) (citing Apex Digital, Inc. v. Sears, Roebuck & Co., 572 F.3d 440, 443 (7th Cir. 2009)). A facial challenge claims that the complaint's, or another pleading's, allegations are insufficient, 4 "Facility Fee," means "the annual fee (as such fee may be increased from time to time as provided herein) to be paid by the Club to the CPD in consideration for the Club's Use Rights with respect to the Facility, which is intended to reimburse the CPD for its actual expense." Resp., Ex. 1 at 8. 5 Under the Operating Agreement, "Routine Maintenance," includes (but is not limited to) maintenance such as elevator maintenance, field maintenance, stadium cleanup, garbage removal, restroom supplied/maintenance, shuttle bus/parking part time help and snow removal in the "stadium." Resp., Ex. 1 at 59, Ex. B. 6 As indicated in the Operating Agreement, "Game Day" means "the days on which the Bears Games are played at [Soldier Field]," and "Field," means the "playing field, end zone and sidelines." 5 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 6 of 25 PageID #:358 while "[a] factual challenge contends that 'there is in fact no subject matter jurisdiction,' even if the pleadings are formally sufficient." Id. (quoting Apex Digital, 572 F.3d at 443–44) (emphasis omitted). Regardless of which type of challenge is raised, the plaintiff, as the party invoking federal jurisdiction, always bears the burden to establish that subject matter jurisdiction exists. United Phosphorus, Ltd. v. Angus Chem. Co., 322 F.3d 942, 946 (7th Cir. 2003), overruled on other grounds by Minn–Chem, Inc. v. Agrium, Inc., 683 F.3d 845 (7th Cir. 2012). The court analyzes the instant motion as a facial challenge augmented by Beckman's response. The portion of the pending motions on standing challenges the sufficiency of Beckman's complaint. The court also treats the statements in Beckman's response to the instant motion as though they were set forth in the complaint because they are consistent with it and because the NFL's reply analyzes Beckman's response in the same manner. In other words, the court affords the statements Beckman makes in his response the same presumption of truth as statements in a complaint receive on a facial challenge. See Apex Digital, 572 F.3d at 444 (discussing differences between facial and factual attacks and the district court's power to go beyond the pleadings and weigh evidence on a factual attack). When determining if subject matter jurisdiction is proper on a facial challenge, "the district court must accept as true all material allegations of the complaint, drawing all reasonable inferences therefrom in the plaintiff's favor." Remijas v. Neiman Marcus Grp., LLC, 794 F.3d 688, 691 (7th Cir. 2015) (quoting Reid L. v. Ill. State Bd. of Educ., 358 F.3d 511, 515 (7th Cir. 2004)). B. Failure to State a Claim (Rule 12(b)(6)) A motion under Rule 12(b)(6) challenges the sufficiency of the complaint. Christensen v. Cnty. of Boone, 483 F.3d 454, 458 (7th Cir. 2007). "To survive a [Rule 12(b)(6)] motion to 6 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 7 of 25 PageID #:359 dismiss, a complaint must contain sufficient factual matter, accepted as true, to 'state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.'" Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (quoting Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007)). A claim is facially plausible "when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged." Id. "Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice." Id. When deciding a Rule 12(b)(6) motion, the court must "construe the complaint in the 'light most favorable to the' [plaintiff.]" Zahn v. N. Am. Power & Gas, LLC, 847 F.3d 875, 877 (7th Cir. 2017) (quoting Bell v. City of Chicago, 835 F.3d 736, 738 (7th Cir. 2016)). The court also assumes that all of the well-pleaded facts in the complaint are true and draws reasonable inferences in the plaintiff's favor. See Iqbal, 556 U.S. at 678; Collins v. Vill. of Palatine, 875 F.3d 839, 842 (7th Cir. 2017) (citing McCauley v. City of Chicago, 671 F.3d 611, 615–16 (7th Cir. 2011)); Tagami v. City of Chicago, 875 F.3d 375, 377 (7th Cir. 2017) (citing United Cent. Bank v. Davenport Estate LLC, 815 F.3d 315, 318 (7th Cir. 2016)). As Beckman repeatedly argues, "[a] document filed pro se is 'to be liberally construed, and a pro se complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by lawyers.'" Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94 (2007) (per curiam) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S. 97, 106 (1976)) (internal quotation marks and other citation omitted). Beckman repeatedly quotes a sentence from Wilson v. Town of Clayton, 839 F.2d 375, 378 (7th Cir. 1988): "a pro se civil rights complaint may only be dismissed if it is beyond doubt that there is no set of facts under which the plaintiff could obtain relief." (Citing Shango v. Jurich, 681 F.2d 1091, 1103 (7th Cir. 1982)). Wilson's "no set of facts" language comes ultimately from Conley v. Gibson, 355 U.S. 41, 47 (1957). In Twombly, supra, the Supreme Court tossed the "no set of facts" formulation into the dustbin of 7 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 8 of 25 PageID #:360 jurisprudence, saying that "[t]he phrase is best forgotten as an incomplete, negative gloss on an accepted pleading standard." Twombly, 550 U.S. at 563. Though the court construes Beckman's complaint liberally, it applies federal pleading standards as Twombly and Iqbal require. 7 One last procedural matter: No party objects to the court's taking judicial notice of the Operating Agreement. Ordinarily, considering papers other than the complaint and anything incorporated into it, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 10(c), converts a Rule 12(b)(6) motion to one for summary judgment. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(d). Nonetheless, the court may take judicial notice under Federal Rule of Evidence 201 of matters of public record without converting a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Tellabs, Inc. v. Makor Issues & Rights, Ltd., 551 U.S. 308, 322 (2007); United States v. Wood, 925 F.2d 1580, 1582 (7th Cir. 1991). The court does so here. III. STANDING As it must, the court considers the NFL's challenge to Beckman's standing first. "In every federal case, the party bringing the suit must establish standing to prosecute the action. 'In essence the question of standing is whether the litigant is entitled to have the court decide the merits of the dispute or of particular issues.'" Elk Grove Unified Sch. Dist. v. Newdow, 542 U.S. 1, 11 (2004), abrogated on other grounds by Lexmark Int'l., Inc. v. Static Control Components, Inc., 134 S. Ct. 1377, 1387 (2014) (quoting Warth v. Seldin, 422 U.S. 490, 498 (1975)). Without 7 Defendants also contend in their reply that Beckman's response reads like it was ghostwritten by a lawyer. ECF No. 25 at 1 n.1. The court acknowledges that cases recognize ethical issues ghost writing poses. See, e.g., Gajewski v. Ocwen Loan Servicing, LLC, No. 14-cv-9230, 2015 WL 3961611, at *1 n.1 (N.D. Ill. June 25, 2015). Beckman's response exhibits a sophistication and facility with legal concepts approaching that of someone who has received a legal education, but given the quality of the writing in his complaint, the thoroughness of the exhibits, and consistently clear manner in which he expressed himself in his letter to the NFL's commissioner, the court finds it hard to say whether the quality of his briefing results from ghost writing or an avid interest in the law. Due to the quality of the complaint and briefs, the principle that the papers receive a liberal construction has done little work here. Defendants may propound whatever discovery they wish at the appropriate time, but in these circumstances, the court needs something more concrete than above-average papers to take the unusual step of asking a litigant to state under oath whether someone wrote a legal brief for him. 8 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 9 of 25 PageID #:361 standing, the court doesn't have the power to decide the First Amendment question presented at all. See, e.g., id.; Otrompke v. Skolnik, 826 F.3d 999, 1000 (7th Cir. 2016). To show standing, Beckman must establish that he has "(1) suffered an injury in fact, (2) that is fairly traceable to the challenged conduct of the defendant, and (3) that is likely to be redressed by a favorable judicial decision." Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, 136 S. Ct. 1540, 1547 (2016) (quoting Lujan v. Defenders of Wildlife, 504 U.S. 555, 560–61) (other citation omitted) (explaining that injury, traceability, and redressability are the "irreducible constitutional minimum" of Article III standing); Berger v. Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n, 843 F.3d 285, 289 (7th Cir. 2016). Only the NFL challenges standing. "'[A] plaintiff must demonstrate standing for each claim he seeks to press' and 'for each form of relief' that is sought," Davis v. Fed. Election Comm'n, 554 U.S. 724, 734 (2008) (quoting DaimlerChrysler Corp. v. Cuno, 547 U.S. 332, 352 (2006)), and also for each defendant. See, e.g., Doe v. Holcomb, 883 F.3d 971, 976 (7th Cir. 2018) (performing standing analysis by "tak[ing] each defendant in turn"). Defendants correctly concede that Beckman's complaint is sufficient to show that he suffered an injury in fact. Beckman seeks only injunctive relief stopping the Bears from enforcing a policy against opposing team apparel during the experience. Compl. IV.13, V.14. An injury must be "concrete and particularized" and "actual or imminent, not conjectural or hypothetical." Spokeo, 136 S. Ct. at 1548 (quoting Lujan, 504 U.S. at 560). The injury-in-fact requirement demands something more than a generalization that the plaintiff intends to return "some day;" the plaintiff must have "concrete plans," or at least specify "when the some day will be." Lujan, 504 U.S. at 564. Beckman's complaint says that he is still a season ticket holder, that he received an email giving him enough points to purchase four experiences in the 2017–18 9 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 10 of 25 PageID #:362 season, that he intended to go to a Bears-Packers game that was scheduled in November 2017, that he wanted to wear Packers gear and participate in the experience before that game, that the Bears' app said that the rule against opposing team apparel applies to the scheduled Bears- Packers game, and that the problem would repeat every year when Beckman attended a Bears- Packers game at Soldier Field. Compl. III.C.1, 7–10, 13. The NFL challenged none of Beckman's assertions, and the court has no reason to believe the Bears will change their rule against opposing team apparel next season. At this stage, Beckman's allegations satisfy the injury-in-fact requirement for the injunctive relief he seeks because he has pleaded that he has everything he needs to attend another experience, had concrete plans to do so on a specific date in 2017 and "there is an 'objectively reasonable likelihood' that such injury will occur" again based on his specific plans to keep going to Bears-Packers games in future seasons. See Lewert v. P.F. Chang's China Bistro, Inc., 819 F.3d 963, 966 (7th Cir. 2016) (citing Clapper v. Amnesty Int'l USA, 568 U.S. 398, 409 (2013)). Traceability and redressability as to the NFL present more difficult problems. "Standing doctrine functions to ensure, among other things, that the scarce resources of the federal courts are devoted to those disputes in which the parties have a concrete stake." Friends of the Earth, Inc. v. Laidlaw Envtl. Servs. (TOC), Inc., 528 U.S. 167, 191 (2000). Plaintiffs often sue state or federal officials to seek an injunction prohibiting enforcement of an allegedly unconstitutional law. When that happens, the plaintiff proves standing by "establish[ing] that his injury is causally connected to that enforcement and that enjoining the enforcement is likely to redress his injury." Doe, 883 F.3d at 975–76. Here Beckman must establish that the Bears' policy against opposing team apparel is causally connected to the NFL and that enjoining the NFL is likely to get him on the field wearing Packers gear. Id. 10 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 11 of 25 PageID #:363 Beckman's complaint, even construed liberally, does not establish either proposition. As the NFL argues, the only things in Beckman's complaint tying his injuries to the NFL are his allegations that he wrote a letter on January 2, 2017, to the NFL's commissioner asking him to force or persuade the Bears to change their policy, and the commissioner didn't respond. Compl. III.C.6; letter from R. Beckman to R. Goodell, id. Ex. A. The Bears had already adopted and applied the policy when Beckman wrote his letter, and nothing in the complaint explains the relationship between the NFL Commissioner and the Bears. The complaint does recite that the NFL is "[a]n unincorporated association of 32 professional football teams," Compl. I.B, of which the Bears and the Packers are members, id. II.B.2.b, but leaves the details to guesswork. The simple fact that the Bears and Packers associate with the NFL does not show the policy Beckman challenges is fairly traceable to the NFL any more than any other organization—an advertiser, vendor, or a charity for instance—with which the Bears associate. Beckman must do more than show general association with the NFL to show traceability and redressability. See Doe, 883 F.3d at 976. In his response to the pending motion to dismiss, Beckman tries to fill the standing gaps in his complaint. He represents that the NFL creates rules and policies governing players and teams, that teams must follow the NFL's constitution and bylaws, and that the Bears are "bound by the decisions of the NFL Commissioner and the decisions, rulings and action of the NFL's Executive Committee or other member clubs." ECF No. 24 at 17. He also tells the court that the NFL approved the Operating Agreement between the Bears and the Chicago Park District and that the NFL has issued "mandates" requiring member teams to change policies in the past, as when it required the Bears to begin conducting pat-down searches of fans in 2005. Id. When he wrote to the NFL Commissioner, concludes Beckman, the NFL could have forced the Bears to 11 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 12 of 25 PageID #:364 change their policy; in Beckman's words, "The NFL has the opportunity and ability to impact the decision of whether or not the Chicago Bears lift the restriction or refrain from enforcement as alleged." Id. at 18–19. The new representations in Beckman's response may demonstrate redressability. If what Beckman represents is true, the court could enjoin the NFL to force the Bears to change the challenged policy if Beckman wins on the merits because the Bears have to do as the NFL tells them. See id. The court does not have the details of the NFL's constitution, by-laws, policies, or practices before it, however, and making a decision on redressability turns out to be unnecessary because even if Beckman's response is seen favorably to him, he still does not show that his injury can be fairly traced to the NFL. Beckman stresses that the Bears must follow NFL rules, but he does not identify any NFL rule, policy, or anything else that required, or even encouraged, the Bears to adopt the policy he challenges. See id. at 17–19. The NFL therefore stands in a position not unlike a state governor when a state law's constitutionality is challenged. The NFL has the general power to set policy and could presumably make the Bears change the policy at issue. But a governor's generalized duty to enforce state law does not create standing to sue the governor to enjoin the law's enforcement. Doe, 881 F.3d at 977. Beckman must instead show a more direct connection to the NFL—that the NFL "play[s] some role in enforcing" the challenged policy. Id. at 976–77. Beckman's letter to the NFL's commissioner, Compl. Ex. A, certainly demonstrates that Beckman thinks the NFL could play a role, but the letter, the complaint, and Beckman's response do not give the court any reason to think that it has played a role in the policy's enforcement or that the NFL is likely to do so in the future. The Bears' policy therefore appears to be a matter left by the NFL to the Bears' discretion on the present record. 12 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 13 of 25 PageID #:365 Because the Bears' discretion appears to be unfettered, it breaks the chain of causation from Beckman's injury to the NFL. See Simon v. E. Ky. Welfare Rights Org., 426 U.S. 26, 41–42 (1976) (holding allegation that defendants "encouraged hospitals to deny services to indigents" by adopting rule did not show that denial of services (the injury) was fairly traceable to defendants because traceability does not reach harm that "results from the independent action of some third party"); Segovia v. United States, 880 F.3d 384, 388–89 (7th Cir. 2018) (holding injuries inflicted by voting law were not fairly traceable to defendants enforcing federal law "[g]iven that type of unfettered discretion" federal law left to Illinois; "plaintiffs cannot sue the federal government for failing to enact a law requiring Illinois to remedy their injury."); DH2, Inc. v. SEC, 422 F.3d 591, 597 (7th Cir. 2005) (holding alleged injury not fairly traceable to SEC rules because "to a significant degree, the injury [the plaintiff] complain[ed] of hinges on the decisions of independent actors whose discretion—though subject to securities laws and regulation by the SEC—is nonetheless quite broad"); see also Ass'n of Am. Physicians & Surgeons, Inc. v. Koskinen, 768 F.3d 640, 642 (7th Cir. 2014) ("The longer the causal chain, the less appropriate it is to entertain standing. . . . To allow a long, intermediated chain of effects to establish standing is to abolish the standing requirement as a practical matter. . . ."). In sum, neither Beckman's complaint nor the statements on pages 17–19 of his response to the pending motion, ECF No. 24, establish that his injury is fairly traceable to the NFL. The NFL must accordingly be dismissed for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. IV. THE FIRST AMENDMENT CLAIM The First Amendment provides that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the 13 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 14 of 25 PageID #:366 government for a redress of grievances." U.S. Const. amend. I. The Bears argue that the First Amendment claim alleged in Beckman's complaint fails to state a claim for two reasons. First, as the Bears argue, Beckman is challenging their purely private conduct; the complaint, Operating Agreement, and other exhibits do not cross the threshold from private to state action. Alternatively, defendants maintain that the playing field is a nonpublic forum, and so the policy prohibiting opposing team apparel during the PWFCE is a reasonable, viewpoint neutral speech restriction. The court finds neither argument persuasive at this procedural stage. An examination of the complaint and Operating Agreement reveals language that can be reasonably read as giving CPD the right to approve all PSL programs like the one at issue here. And the policy does not appear to be viewpoint neutral because it allows season ticket holders to wear Bears gear. A. The Complaint and Operating Agreement Make State Action Plausible The Supreme Court has long held that "[f]reedom of speech and freedom of the press, which are protected by the First Amendment from infringement by Congress, are among the fundamental personal rights and liberties which are protected by the Fourteenth Amendment from invasion by state action." Lovell v. City of Griffin, 303 U.S. 444, 450 (1938) (citing Gitlow v. New York, 268 U.S. 652, 666 (1925)) (other citations omitted). Because the Fourteenth Amendment "erects no shield against merely private conduct, however discriminating or wrongful," neither does the First Amendment when applied through it. Murphy v. Mount Carmel High Sch., 543 F.2d 1189, 1193 (7th Cir. 1976) (quoting Shelley v. Kraemer, 334 U.S. 1, 13 (1948); accord Nat'l Collegiate Athletic Ass'n v. Tarkanian, 488 U.S. 179, 191 (1988). Beckman concedes that the Bears are organized as a private corporation, Compl. II.B.2.a, which does not qualify as a state actor. See, e.g., Peery v. Chi. Hous. Auth., 791 F.3d 788, 790– 14 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 15 of 25 PageID #:367 91 (7th Cir. 2015) (holding private building owners were not state actors). He argues that his complaint and the Operating Agreement state a claim that the Bears and the Chicago Park District have a close enough relationship to satisfy the requirement of state action. The court's first task is to identify the "specific conduct of which the [plaintiff] complains" because "constitutional standards are [applicable] only when it can be said that the State is responsible for" that "specific conduct." Peery, 791 F.3d at 789 (quoting Blum v. Yaretsky, 457 U.S. 991, 1004 (1982)) (second alteration in original). Beckman does not say that he has had, or thinks he will have, trouble getting into Soldier Field wearing Packers gear. Nor does he say that the Bears have interfered, or are likely to, with his ability to reach his seat and watch a game decked out in Packers garb. Zeroing in on the specific conduct, Beckman complains about the Bears adopting and communicating a policy prohibiting opposing team gear on the field during the PWFCE and then enforcing that policy on game day. See Compl. III.C.4– 5, 8. Having identified the specific conduct Beckman challenges as the adoption and enforcement of the PWFCE policy against opposing team apparel, the court applies the test for state action to that specific conduct. "At its most basic level, the state action doctrine requires that a court find such a close nexus between the State and the challenged action that the challenged action may be fairly treated as that of the State itself." Listecki v. Official Comm. of Unsecured Creditors, 780 F.3d 731, 738 (7th Cir. 2015) (quoting Rodriguez v. Plymouth Ambulance Serv., 577 F.3d 816, 823 (7th Cir. 2009)) (brackets omitted). The Supreme Court has articulated various tests used to inform that decision. They include the "symbiotic relationship test, the state command and encouragement test, the joint participation doctrine, and the public function test." Id. (quoting Rodriguez, 577 F.3d at 823–24). The Court has characterized the 15 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 16 of 25 PageID #:368 state action inquiry as a "necessarily fact-bound inquiry." United Brentwood Acad. v. Tenn. Secondary Sch. Athletic Ass'n, 531 U.S. 288, 298 (2001) (quoting Lugar v. Edmondson Oil Co., 457 U.S. 922, 939 (1982)). "Over time, Supreme Court and Seventh Circuit precedent have revealed that these cases do not so much enunciate a test or series of factors, but rather demonstrate examples of outcomes in a fact-based assessment." Hallinan v. Fraternal Order of Police of Chi. Lodge No. 7, 570 F.3d 811, 816 (7th Cir. 2009) (citing Brentwood, 531 U.S. at 295 and Tarpley v. Keistler, 188 F.3d 788, 792 (7th Cir.1999)). In the end, the court makes a "normative judgment" under which "[n]o one fact can function as a necessary condition [for state action] across the board" and no "set of circumstances [is] absolutely sufficient" to establish state action. Id. (quoting Brentwood, 531 U.S. at 295–96). Citing one case, Beckman makes much of the fact-specific nature of the state action test, arguing that issue is inappropriate for resolution without discovery. The case he cites involved a company the City of Chicago allegedly formed "to serve as the city's agent as part of its efforts to bring the 2016 Olympic Games to Chicago." Frayne v. Chicago 2016, No. 08 C 5290, 2009 WL 65236, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Jan. 8, 2009). This court agrees that, as a general matter, the need to make a normative judgment based on all the facts points toward the need for discovery when the complaint states a plausible claim. See id. at *3; see also Christopher, supra, 536 U.S. at 406, 416 (citing Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 513–515 (2002)) (explaining that First Amendment claims must satisfy notice-pleading requirements). Nonetheless, Beckman does not claim that the CPD formed the Bears or, as explained in the following paragraphs, that the Bears 16 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 17 of 25 PageID #:369 have a comparable relationship with the CPD. 8 The complaint must still state a plausible claim to unlock the door to discovery. See Frayne, 2009 WL 65236, at *1 (citing Tamayo v. Blagojevich, 526 F.3d 1074, 1083–83 (7th Cir. 2008)); see also Christopher v. Harbury, 536 U.S. 403, 406 (2002) (citing Swierkiewicz v. Sorema N.A., 534 U.S. 506, 513–515 (2002)) (explaining that First Amendment claims must satisfy notice pleading requirements). Seventh Circuit case law demonstrates that state action questions can and should be addressed at the complaint stage when appropriate. See, e.g., Lugar, 457 U.S. at 939–42 (affirming dismissal of one count of complaint on state action grounds and reversing dismissal of others); Rodriguez, 577 F.3d at 831–32 (same); Hallinan, 570 F.3d at 813–14, 821 (affirming dismissal of complaint because "[t]he plaintiffs failed to plead adequately state action"). The cases just cited demonstrate that the state action requirement has teeth at the pleading stage. The court cannot accept Beckman's broad assertion that "an allegation detailing any involvement is not required at this stage," Resp. 9, ECF No. 24. Even though he represents himself, Beckman must plead more than "labels and conclusions" on state action to survive a Rule 12(b)(6) motion. Iqbal, supra, 556 U.S. at 678 (quoting Twombly, supra, 550 U.S. at 555). Beckman succinctly summarizes his state action position in his response to defendants' motion to dismiss. He asserts that his First Amendment rights were violated at a "publicly owned, publicly financed facility." Resp. 7. He adds that the mere existence of the Operating Agreement and its detailed nature demonstrate that the Bears and the CPD are "jointly engaged" with one another. Id. at 8–9 (quoting Hallinan, 570 F.3d at 815–16). 8 The plaintiff's constitutional claims in Frayne were subsequently dismissed at summary judgment on grounds unrelated to state action. See 2009 WL 3229625, at *6–7 (N.D. Ill. Oct. 2, 2009). 17 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 18 of 25 PageID #:370 As the cases the Bears cite suggest, the facts that Soldier Field was built with public money and that the CPD leases it to the Bears to hold football games probably aren't enough to make the Bears' policy prohibiting opposing team apparel during the PWFCE effectively a CPD decision. In Whitney v. Window to the World Communications, Inc., 837 F. Supp. 2d 854, 857 (N.D. Ill. 2011), for example, the court found the complaint of a plaintiff who was denied access to participating in a political debate on a public television station did not state a state action claim based on allegations that broadcasters are highly regulated and that the station leased the building from the state. See also Reinwand v. Nat'l Elec. Benefit Fund, 683 F. App'x 516, 517 (7th Cir. 2017) (unpublished) (holding pension fund not state actor despite being heavily regulated by federal law). Generally, allegations that a professional sports team leases public land, gets tax breaks, and some kind of public support, do not demonstrate that the team is a state actor when operating a sports facility, which is not a traditional governmental function. See, e.g., Ludwig's, No. 13-CV-6045 (MKB), 2016 WL 915102, at *9 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 4, 2016); Bessey v. Spectrum Arena, L.P., No. 11-CV-7099, 2011 WL 6779306, at *4 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 23, 2011); Stark v. Seattle Seahawks, No. C06-1719JLR, 2007 WL 1821017, at *8 (W.D. Wash. June 22, 2007); see also Tarkanian, 488 U.S. at 197–98 n.18 (holding that the coordination of amateur sports is "by no means. . . a traditional, let alone an exclusive, state function"). Here, however, the court has more than generalized allegations before it. The parties agree that the court may consider the Operating Agreement between the Bears and CPD. Regarding the Operating Agreement, the Bears' argument against state action hinges on provisions making the CPD generally "responsible for security and crowd control at Soldier Field." Chi. Park Dist. v. The Chi. Bears Football Club, Inc., No. 06 C 3957, 2006 WL 18 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 19 of 25 PageID #:371 2331099, at *1 (N.D. Ill. Aug. 8, 2006). As the Bears point out, Article 25.1 carves out an exception to that general responsibility for the playing field on game days, however: Except for locker rooms, Team Areas and the Field, the CPD shall be responsible for the performance and payment of security and crowd control on Game Days. With respect to locker room, Team Areas and the Field, the Club shall be responsible for the performance and payment of security and crowd control on Game Days. Operating Agreement § 25.1, ECF No. 24-1 at 70. The Bears say that Section 25.1 effectively draws a line of responsibility around the field, making security the Bears' responsibility. Read in isolation, Section 25.1 seems to leave the CPD without any discretion to control who can be on the playing field on game days. Beckman disputes whether the place where PWFCE participants stand qualifies as the "field" (it might be just adjacent to the end zone), but he does not allege that CPD personnel provided security for the experience or worked at the desk where he tried to check in before the PWFCE. See Compl. II.C.5. But Beckman is a PSL holder seeking to participate in a premium experience available to season ticket holders. Indeed, Beckman bought extra PSLs in 2016, so he could enjoy the PWFCE with friends and family. Compl. III.C.2. Here is what the Operating Agreement has to say about the Bears' PSL programs: All Bears PSL Programs and all Bears PSL Agreements for Bears Games shall be subject to the approval of the CPD. The CPD agrees that such approval shall be granted unless such Bears PSL Programs and Bears PSL Agreements materially violate the rules of public policy of the CPD. Operating Agreement §11.2.5, ECF No. 24-1 at 41. The parties do not discuss Section 11.2.5 in their briefing, but it is at least plausible that in Section 11.2.5, the CPD retained discretion to approve the PWFCE program at issue here. 19 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 20 of 25 PageID #:372 Showing that a state actor retained discretion to approve a speech restriction goes a long way toward demonstrating state action, for it suggests the state's control over ostensibly private censorship. See Brentwood, 531 U.S. at 297 (discussing Evans v. Newton, 382 U.S. 296, 299– 301 (1966), which held that private trustees to whom a city had transferred a park were nonetheless state actors barred from enforcing racial segregation, since the park served the public purpose of providing community recreation, and "the municipality remain[ed] entwined in [its] management [and] control," (quoting id. at 301) (alterations in original)); Air Line Pilots Ass'n, Int'l. v. Dep't of Aviation of City of Chi., 45 F.3d 1144, 1149 (7th Cir. 1995) (holding that the First Amendment applied to corporation's decisions not to display certain advertising material where city's contract gave it discretion to control the contents of advertisements in airport); see also Lebron v. Nat'l R.R. Passenger Corp., 513 U.S. 374, 399 (1995) ("[W]here. . . the Government creates a corporation by special law, for the furtherance of governmental objectives, and retains for itself permanent authority to appoint a majority of the directors of that corporation, the corporation is part of the Government for purposes of the First Amendment."). Stated differently, the Operating Agreement, viewed favorably to Beckman, supports the conclusion that the CPD has remained "entwine[d] in the management or control" of Bears' programs for PSL holders, including the program here. Brentwood, 531 U.S. at 297. Further bolstering that conclusion, the Operating Agreement allocates all revenue earned on game days to the Bears with the exception of parking. See Operating Agreement § 13.1.1, 13.2.3; but see id. § 13.2.6 (making exception for major NFL events like the Super Bowl to be negotiated with the NFL). An exception exists for a group of initial PSLs sold when the agreement commenced in 2001; the CPD gets the revenue from them. See Operating Agreement §§ 1.124, 11.1.1, 11.1.2. Beckman's complaint does not make clear whether he holds any initial 20 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 21 of 25 PageID #:373 PSL's, but even if he does not, the Operating Agreement says that the Bears and the CPD expected to sell about 30,000 initial PSLs. Id. § 1.124. When combined with the parking and rental revenues, the inference that the CPD gets a sizable portion of the revenues from PSLs at Soldier Field becomes plausible. See Airline Pilots, 45 F.3d at 1149. Taken together, the complaint and the Operating Agreement rise to the level of a plausible claim that the CPD and the Bears' operations are enmeshed enough to find a state action in the Bears' administration of PSL programs. Particularly because the inquiry is fact-intensive and no discovery has occurred, the court emphasizes that it determines only that Beckman has satisfied federal pleading requirements. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 8(a)(2) (requiring "a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief"). B. The Complaint States a Claim of Viewpoint Discrimination It is settled that "members of the public retain strong free speech rights when they venture into public streets and parks, "which have immemorially been held in trust for the use of the public and, time out of mind, have been used for purposes of assembly, communicating thoughts between citizens, and discussing public questions." Pleasant Grove City v. Summum, 555 U.S. 460, 469 (2009) (quoting Perry Educ. Ass'n v. Perry Local Educators' Ass'n, 460 U.S. 37, 45 (1982). The court employs "forum analysis as a means of determining when the Government's interest in limiting the use of its property to its intended purpose outweighs the interest of those wishing to use the property for other purposes. Accordingly, the extent to which the Government can control access depends on the nature of the relevant forum." Cornelius v. NAACP Legal Def. & Educ. Fund, Inc., 473 U.S. 788, 800 (1985); see also Perry Educ. Ass'n, 460 U.S. 37; Lehman v. City of Shaker Heights, 418 U.S. 298 (1974). These fora come in three varieties: the "traditional public forum," the "limited" or "designated" public forum, and the 21 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 22 of 25 PageID #:374 "nonpublic forum." Ill. Dunesland Pres. Soc'y v. Ill. Dep't of Natural Res., 584 F.3d 719, 723 (7th Cir. 2009) (collecting cases and calling the categories "unhelpful First Amendment jargon"). A speech restriction in each type of forum requires a different level of scrutiny, see Pleasant Grove, 555 U.S. at 469–70 (discussing doctrine), but "[t]he constant (applicable even to nonpublic forums), is that regulation is not to be used as a weapon to stifle speech." Ill. Dunesland, 584 F.3d at 724 (citing Cornelius, 473 U.S. at 800). The parties disagree both about whether the public land where Beckman wishes to wear his Packers gear is part of the "field" and into which category of forum that piece of land falls. The Bears maintain that the field is a nonpublic forum in which speech can generally be most highly regulated. Beckman disputes that vehemently. He argues that forum should be defined as Soldier Field in its entirety or perhaps the separately demarcated space where PWFCE participants must stand—in all events not the field. See Resp. 12–14, ECF No. 24 (citing photograph attached to complaint). Soldier Field, continues Beckman, was built in 1924 as a World War I memorial, and its history of use for public events (not yet specified in the record of this case) shows it to be a public forum. 9 See id. The court does not need to settle either dispute, however, because the complaint states a First Amendment claim even accepting, for the sake of argument only, defendants' contentions that the playing field is the pertinent forum and that it is nonpublic. Assume that the field is a nonpublic forum. "Control over access to a nonpublic forum can be based on subject matter and speaker identity so long as the distinctions drawn are reasonable in light of the purpose served by the forum and are viewpoint neutral." Cornelius, 473 U.S. at 806 (citing Perry Educ. Ass'n, 460 9 In Marcavage v. City of Chicago, 659 F.3d 626, 630 (7th Cir. 2011), the Seventh Circuit stated that "sidewalks like the ones outside Soldier Field and Wrigley Field are traditional public forums where the exercise of First Amendment rights is often most vibrant." 22 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 23 of 25 PageID #:375 U.S. at 49) ("[T]he government violates the First Amendment when it denies access to a speaker solely to suppress the point of view he espouses on an otherwise includible subject."). In their emails, in their app, and by their actions the Bears differentiate between Bears gear, which is allowed, and "visiting" or "opposing" team apparel, which isn't. Compl. III.C.4, 8; id. Ex. A 22–23, Ex. D 1. The Bears say that the restriction doesn't depend on viewpoint because "[t]he restriction does not depend on who the visiting team is, the conduct of the team, or otherwise, but only on the structural fact of whether the attire worn by the PWFCE participant is not that of the home team." Mem. Supp. Mot. to Dismiss 12, ECF No. 19 (emphasis added). Answering the emphasized language requires a judgment not about a "structural fact" (whatever that phrase means) but a value-laden judgment about the degree to which any particular piece of apparel conveys a message that the wearer supports the visiting team. The policy does not regulate "structure" in the sense of requiring shoes to be worn before entering a public place, requiring a thick enough coat before going on a hike, or prohibiting metal cleats on a field. The Bears' policy takes aim at "speech printed on clothing, political symbols such as a swastika or a campaign button affixed to clothing, and masks and costumes that convey a political or other message." Brandt v. Bd. of Educ. of City of Chi., 480 F.3d 460,466 (7th Cir. 2007) (citation omitted); see also id. at 466–67 (discussing contextually sensitive inquiry needed to determine whether restrictions on clothing trigger the First Amendment). In context, even the color of clothing can convey a point of view and trigger First Amendment protection, as in the well- known case of wearing black armbands to protest the Vietnam War. Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist., 393 U.S. 503, 505–06 (1969) (finding this to be "closely akin to 'pure speech'" receiving the greatest First Amendment protection (citations omitted)). 23 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 24 of 25 PageID #:376 A few questions that might come up help to illustrate. Does a shirt with opposing team colors but no logo count? Will an unstylized printing of the opposing team name disqualify the wearer? Or is an official logo required? What about a shirt showing the logos of all NFL teams including the Bears and the visiting team? As the Bears say, they designed the experience "for Bears fans," and so the answers would presumably depend upon whether the particular item of apparel showed that its wearer was a Bears fan. Mem. Supp. Mot. to Dismiss 12. Defendants try to analogize this case to a police officer enforcing the dress code of a private organization that has rented a public park. See Mem. Supp. Mot. to Dismiss 12. They say that requiring them to allow visiting-team attire during the PWFCE would violate their First Amendment rights by forcing them, as a condition of getting their permit, to convey a message they disapprove of—support for an opposing team. See, e.g., Hurley v. Irish-American Gay, Lesbian & Bisexual Grp. of Boston, 515 U.S. 557 (1995). Both arguments presume something not currently true, namely that there was no state action in creating the restrictive dress code in the first place. The point that if the ability "to exclude others from public property during the course of a limited, permitted use" were found to be a constitutional violation, "every picnic, wedding, company outing, meeting, rally, and fair held on public grounds would be subject to constitutional scrutiny," makes sense, but it illustrates the speech-chilling effect that finding state action would have in those circumstances. Villegas v. Gilroy Garlic Festival Ass'n, 541 F.3d 950, 957 (9th Circ. 2008) (en banc) (alteration and quotation omitted). Here the plaintiff has stated a plausible claim of state action. That means that the court must presume that the Bears' "seemingly private behavior 'may be fairly treated as that of the State [(here the CPD)] itself.'" Brentwood, 531 U.S. at 295 (quoting Jackson v. Metro. Edison Co., 419 U.S. 345, 351 (1974)). So while the Bears acting purely privately could exclude PSL holders wearing the other team's 24 Case: 1:17-cv-04551 Document #: 27 Filed: 03/30/18 Page 25 of 25 PageID #:377 gear from the PWFCE, the complaint states a claim that the CPD cannot, via the Bears, do the same thing any more than it could keep anyone wearing green (or not wearing green) out of Solder Field on St. Patrick's Day. Cf. Brandt, 480 F.3d at 466 (citing Clark v. Cmty. for Creative Non-Violence, 468 U.S. 288, 303–05 (1984)) (opining that "[i]f Irish people were forbidden to wear green on St. Patrick's Day, a natural form of protest would be to wear green on that day") V. CLASS ACTION ALLEGATIONS Defendants also move to strike Beckman's class action allegations. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 23(d). Beckman concedes in his response that a pro se litigant can't represent a class because a class needs competent counsel to get anywhere, and so the court deems the class allegations withdrawn. Resp. 1 n1., 19; see also Lawrence v. Sec'y of State, 467 F. App'x 523, 525 (7th Cir. 2012); Valentine v. WideOpen W. Fin., LLC, 288 F.R.D. 407, 414 (N.D. Ill. 2012). The court will provide Beckman with an opportunity to amend his complaint. Any amended complaint should not include class allegations. VI. CONCLUSION For the reasons stated, defendants' motion to dismiss and strike, ECF No. 18, is granted in part and denied in part. The complaint, ECF No. 6, against the NFL is dismissed without prejudice for lack of standing, and Beckman's class action allegations are withdrawn. Plaintiff Russell Beckman may file an amended complaint on or before April 23, 2018. A status conference is set for May 9, 2018, at 9:30 a.m. Date: March 30, 2018 /s/ Joan B. Gottschall United States District Judge 25

Interested in this case?

Sign up to receive real-time updates
Last full docket sheet refresh: 461 days ago. Refresh now
Datesort arrow up
RECEIVED Complaint and request for injunction and 0 copies by Russell Beckman (Exhibits)
CIVIL Cover Sheet
PRO SE Appearance by Plaintiff Russell Beckman
MINUTE entry before the Honorable Joan B. Gottschall: A status hearing is set for 6/28/17 at 9:30 AM Mailed notice
COMPLAINT filed by Russell Beckman. (Exhibits)
MINUTE entry before the Honorable Joan B. Gottschall: Status hearing held. Only plaintiff appeared. He informed the court that he sent a request for waiver of service of the summons and complaint, see Fed. R. Civ. P. 4(d), to the defendants on 6/17/17. Status hearing set for 9/20/17 at 9:30 AM Mr. Beckman is advised that if he wishes to do so, he may make an appointment with the Pro Se Self Help Assistance Program online: Mailed notice
PRO SE Appearance by Plaintiff Russell Beckman
INFORMATION by Plaintiff Russell Beckman (Exhibits)
WAIVER OF SERVICE returned executed by Russell Beckman. Chicago Bear Football Club Inc waiver sent on 6/17/2017, answer due 8/16/2017.
ORDER: To the extent plaintiff's information 9 can be construed as a motion, it is denied without prejudice. The motion may be refiled at an appropriate time, provided that plaintiff properly serves it and notices it for presentment. Plaintiff states that he has availed himself of the assistance of the pro se help desk. There are no limits on the number of appointments a litigant can make. Plaintiff is encouraged to make use of that resource as frequently as he wishes. Signed by the Honorable Joan B. Gottschall on 7/27/2017. Mailed notice
DECLARATION of Rusell Beckman.
SUMMONS Returned Executed by Russell Beckman as to National Football League on 7/31/2017, answer due 8/21/2017.
CERTIFICATE of Service by Russell Beckman.
CERTIFICATE of Service by Russell Beckman.
ATTORNEY Appearance for Defendants Chicago Bear Football Club Inc, National Football League by John N. Scholnick
ATTORNEY Appearance for Defendants Chicago Bear Football Club Inc, National Football League by Michael K Molzberger
MOTION by Defendants National Football League, Chicago Bear Football Club Inc to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint
MEMORANDUM by Chicago Bear Football Club Inc, National Football League in support of motion to dismiss 18 Plaintiff's complaint
NOTICE of Motion by Michael K Molzberger for presentment of motion to dismiss 18 before Honorable Joan B. Gottschall on 9/6/2017 at 09:30 AM.
MINUTE entry before the Honorable Joan B. Gottschall: Defendants' joint motion to dismiss and strike 18 is briefed as follows: Plaintiff's response is due on or before 9/14/17; defendants' reply is due on or before 9/28/17. The hearings set for 9/6/17 and 9/20/17 are stricken. No appearance is required. The court will rule on the motion by mail and set further dates as necessary after ruling. Mailed notice
NOTIFICATION of Affiliates pursuant to Local Rule 3.2 by Chicago Bear Football Club Inc
NOTIFICATION of Affiliates pursuant to Local Rule 3.2 by National Football League
RESPONSE by Russell Beckmanin Opposition to MOTION by Defendants Chicago Bear Football Club Inc, National Football League to strike, MOTION by Defendants National Football League, Chicago Bear Football Club Inc to dismiss Plaintiff's complaint 18
Exhibit Operating Agreement and Addendum
1 Attachment
REPLY by Defendants Chicago Bear Football Club Inc, National Football League to motion to strike, motion to dismiss 18
NOTICE by John N. Scholnick of Change of Address
MEMORANDUM Opinion and Order: For the reasons stated, defendants' motion to dismiss and strike, ECF No. 18, is granted in part and denied in part. The complaint, ECF No. 6, against the NFL is dismissed without prejudice for lack of standing, and Beckman's class action allegations are withdrawn. Plaintiff Russell Beckman may file an amended complaint on or before April 23, 2018. A status conference is set for May 9, 2018, at 9:30 AM Signed by the Honorable Joan B. Gottschall on 3/30/2018. Mailed notice
ATTORNEY Appearance for Defendants Chicago Bear Football Club Inc, National Football League by Paul Edwin Greenwalt, III
MOTION by Defendants Chicago Bear Football Club Inc, National Football League for reconsideration regarding order on motion to dismiss, order on motion to strike, memorandum opinion and order, set deadlines/hearings, 27
MEMORANDUM by Chicago Bear Football Club Inc in support of motion for reconsideration, 29
NOTICE of Motion by Paul Edwin Greenwalt, III for presentment of motion for reconsideration, 29 before Honorable Joan B. Gottschall on 4/27/2018 at 09:30 AM.
MOTION by Plaintiff Russell Beckman For Reimbursement of Service Fees From NFL
MEMORANDUM by Russell Beckman in support of motion for miscellaneous relief 32 Reimbursement of Service Fees from NFL
NOTICE of Motion by Russell Beckman for presentment of motion for miscellaneous relief 32 before Honorable Joan B. Gottschall on 4/27/2018 at 09:30 AM.
RESPONSE by Defendant National Football League to motion for miscellaneous relief 32
RESPONSE by Russell Beckmanin Opposition to MOTION by Defendants Chicago Bear Football Club Inc, National Football League for reconsideration regarding order on motion to dismiss, order on motion to strike, memorandum opinion and order, set deadlines/hearings, 27 29
MINUTE entry before the Honorable Joan B. Gottschall: Defendant Chicago Bears Football Club, Inc.'s motion for reconsideration of denial of motion to dismiss 29 is briefed as follows: defendant's reply is due 5/3/18. No appearance is required on 4/27/18. The status hearing set for 5/9/18 is stricken. The court will set further dates as necessary when it rules on the motion for reconsideration. Mailed notice
MINUTE entry before the Honorable Joan B. Gottschall: Plaintiff Russell Beckman's motion for reimbursement of service fees from defendant National Football League 32 is denied as moot. The motion hearing set for 4/27/18 is stricken; no appearance required. Mailed notice
REPLY by Defendant Chicago Bear Football Club Inc to motion for reconsideration, 29
Would you like this case removed from DocketBird? Request removal.