Live Nation Clears Legal Jam

The days and weeks before the official separation of Live Nation from Clear Channel Communications saw a lot of activity in courtrooms across the land. The company appeared to be clearing at least part of its legal deck in preparation for the spinoff.

Most notably, the long-running battle between Clear Channel and Chicago’s JamSports Entertainment – which originally resulted in a $90 million judgment in JamSports’ favor last March – was quietly settled out of court just weeks before a new trial was to begin February 6th.

Clear Channel’s motor sports division was transferred to Live Nation in the spinoff December 21st.

Terms of the settlement, which was filed with U.S. District Court in Northeast Illinois the same day, are confidential, but Jam’s Jerry Mickelson confirmed the suit’s resolution to Pollstar.

“The parties have resolved all their differences,” Mickelson said. “The JamSports principals are very, very, very happy to have this behind us.”

Judge Matthew Kennelly decided in August to throw out $73 million in combined punitive damages in order to separate different issues in the original suit. He ordered a new trial on that basis, according to JamSports attorney Jeffrey Singer.

The remaining $17 million was awarded for compensatory damages.

According to court documents, the ruling did not alter the findings of the jury but would have required a new trial, with a new jury, to revisit the determination of damages. The settlement makes the issues, and the trial, moot.

A week before settling with JamSports, Clear Channel cleared an even longer-running case from the dockets.

Former Metropolitan Entertainment Group promoter Keith Beccia sued Clear Channel and Covanta Energy Corp. in 2002 over the sale of Metropolitan’s assets to Mitch Slater.

In his suit, Beccia accused Clear Channel of undermining a deal he made for the sale of Metropolitan after an offer made by the conglomerate was turned down.

That suit was also scheduled to go to trial February 6th. Instead, a settlement was reached December 14th. – Deborah Speer