Broker Court Victory

A New Jersey judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by the state against two ticket brokers over their sale of Bruce Springsteen tickets at a Giants Stadium show last year.

Orbitz Worldwide and TicketNetwork Direct were accused of violating the state’s Consumer Fraud Act by offering tickets before they were made available. The companies allegedly didn’t possess some of the tickets nor did the tickets correspond to actual stadium seats.

Superior Court Judge Patricia Costello ruled Aug. 26 that a 1996 federal law preempts state law and protects the companies from liability for statements or claims made by third parties on their website.

“This is a very important decision that has never been presented to courts in New Jersey before,” said Peter Harvey, a former New Jersey attorney general who represented TicketNetwork. “The question was, if a ticket seller makes a mistake in the description of the item being sold, does the provider have liability for that, and the answer is no.”

According to court documents, an investigator for the state Division of Consumer Affairs bought tickets through the brokers six days before Ticketmaster began selling tickets to the general public.

However, TicketNetwork and Orbitz notified prospective customers they did not guarantee the accuracy of ticket information on the site, and TicketNetwork’s policy was to prohibit sellers from offering tickets they didn’t possess or have a legal right to sell.