Service Fee Suit Moves Forward

A lawsuit that accuses Live Nation of ticket price gouging will proceed, following a decision from a federal judge in Newark, N.J.

In her opinion, U.S. District Judge Mary Cooper wrote that the charges raised in plaintiff Michael Katz’s suit “indicate a capacity to mislead consumers.”

The suit, filed last summer, alleged Live Nation used deceptive pricing for concerts at the PNC Bank Arts Center, which it manages.
The complaint said base prices for a blink-182 concert at the venue rose during a no-service-fee program offered by the company, in essence offsetting the deal.

Specifically, Katz claimed he paid more for lawn seats to the show during the LN promotion – $35.25 per ticket with a base price of $29 plus a parking fee – than before the offering, when he paid $20 per ticket, or $7.75 base plus parking and service fees.

At the time, Live Nation called the lawsuit “frivolous,” and said the accusation that prices were raised to offset the discount was “false and easily verified through simple math.”

Cooper ruled June 17 that if the allegations are proved at trial, Live Nation could be considered in violation of the state’s Consumer Fraud Act.

“Plaintiffs have sufficiently alleged facts supporting a claim for unconscionable business practice in violation of the NJCFA,” she wrote. “We find that these allegations indicate a capacity to mislead consumers and evince a lack of fair dealing.”

Attorneys for Katz will reportedly file a motion to grant the case class-action status.