Jersey Promoters Sue Live Nation

Juice Entertainment of New Jersey has sued Live Nation, claiming it used strong-arm tactics to terminate a contract between Juice and the New Jersey State Fair.

Thomas Dorfman and Chris Barrett, principals of Juice, filed in federal court claiming Live Nation used unfair business tactics that led to the fair terminating its booking agreement with Juice. This year’s fair was held at the Meadowlands complex in East Rutherford June 24 to July 10.

The lawsuit says Juice lost more than $75,000 as a result.

The alleged interference includes Live Nation telling State Fair Entertainment Management that Juice was broke and lacked the experience to book concerts for the fair (the lawsuit notes Juice booked a “successful” Latin music festival for SFEM in 2010).

The lawsuit, alleging that Live Nation wanted to participate in booking shows, claims it led a coordinated campaign to keep acts from booking at the event. It claims Tiesto would not be allowed to play at Live Nation venues if he decided to perform at the fair.

Al Dorso, president of State Fair Entertainment Management, told the New Jersey Star-Ledger that Juice seemed to be progressing until Live Nation showed an interest. Dorso asked Barrett and Dorfman if they wanted to work with Live Nation.

“They were the 800-pound gorilla,” Dorso told the paper. “I said, ‘Go see if you can work out a deal,’” adding that he was surprised to learn of Live Nation’s interest because he had approached the company for an earlier fair. “[Juice] basically yawned. They didn’t have an interest in it.”

Juice claims in the lawsuit it didn’t want to consent to the “shotgun marriage” and lost artists because of it, with Dorso eventually terminating the contract.

The lawsuit also claims Live Nation told Dorso and, later to Dorfman and Barrett, “that the William Morris talent agency belonged ‘exclusively’ to Live Nation and that no artists represented by William Morris would be permitted to sign contracts with Juice Entertainment.”

The lawsuit also claims Live Nation strong-armed New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority with removing its ticketing services if NJSEA did assist in getting Live Nation involvement with the fair concerts.

A representative for Live Nation, which normally does not comment on pending litigation, was not available at press time. The Star-Ledger did not receive comment from the authority nor the attorney for Juice.