Legal Deja Vu For LN

Attorneys in New York and several other regions filed class action antitrust suits against Live Nation, Clear Channel Communications and Clear Channel Broadcasting in early June, alleging the radio giant caused a hike in ticket prices and used its stations to promote only the artists booked with Live Nation.

A search of U.S. District Court filings turned up at least six similar suits filed in different districts the same week.

If it feels like deja vu, the claims are very similar to those that the Department of Justice decided to stop investigating after Live Nation was spun off from CCC.

The suits seek class status for concertgoers within each region in which the suits were filed. The causes of action mirror those brought by a previous class action, Heerwagen v. Clear Channel Communications, which was denied a motion for class certification in a New York district court in August 2003.

In denying the motion for certification, the judge ruled that the relevant market for concerts was the local region, rather than national. This month’s filings are intended to establish class status for ticket-buyers in regional markets between June 13, 1998, and December 21, 2005, according to court documents.

In naming Live Nation, despite the spinoff from Clear Channel, the plaintiffs in at least one complaint claim that “although Live Nation is now a separate, publicly owned company, it is dominated and controlled by the same individuals who control CCCI: L. Lowry Mays, Mark P. Mays, and Randall T. Mays.

All three continue to serve on Live Nation’s, and Clear Channel’s, boards of directors.

Daniel Woodring of Cincinnati is one of the lead plaintiffs who filed a class action against the three companies.

“He thinks this is another example of a large corporation using its power to charge excessive prices to consumers,” said Woodring’s attorney, Jeffrey Goldenberg of Cincinnati.

A spokesman for Live Nation had no comment on the pending litigation at press time.

– Deborah Speer