|Appeals court OKs pat down searches at 49ers games|
|Written by Admin|
|Tuesday, 17 July 2007 14:01|
Two season-ticket holders sued the team for invasion of privacy in 2005 after the 49ers instituted the policy that season as part of the NFL's anti-terrorism security efforts.
The California Court of Appeal, in a 2-1 decision, said that Daniel and Kathleen Sullivan waived their privacy concerns because they knew of the pat-down searches before they bought their tickets for the 2006-07 season. They sued in December 2005 after experiencing pat-down searches that season.
The court said the couple could quit going to games if they were offended by the searches.
``By voluntarily re-upping for the next season under these circumstances, rather than opting to avoid the intrusion by not attending the games at Monster Park, the Sheehans impliedly consented to the pat-downs,'' Justice Timothy Reardon wrote for the majority, adding that the ``Sheehans have no reasonable expectation of privacy.''
Justice Maria Rivera dissented, arguing that her colleagues too easily tossed aside the Sheehans' privacy concerns.
``The courts' role in protecting privacy rights should not be so readily abdicated,'' Rivera wrote, noting that the Sheehans have no other way to watch the team in person. ``If you are the only game in town, requiring your customers to either submit to a pat-down search or walk away does not present the kind of genuine choice upon which the majority's reasoning is premised.''
ACLU lawyers, who helped the Sullivans with their lawsuit, and a 49ers spokeswoman didn't immediately return calls for comment.
A federal appeals court in Florida and a federal district court judge in Seattle each ruled similarly in upholding pat-down searches at Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Seattle Seahawks home games.