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May 15, 1986

The Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that a 1977 stock buy-out plan used by New England Patriots owner William H. Sullivan Jr. to regain control of the National Football League team was illegal.

The court, upholding a lower court's rulings in the case, said it would normally order such a reorganization plan to be rescinded. But because of the passage of time and the changed positions of some of the parties in the case, the justices said that Sullivan must pay damages to the stockholders based on the projected present-day value of the Patriots' stock.

The total cost to the Sullivan family could reach as high as $3 million.

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