| 26 Jan 2021
2009 litigation against Live Nation dismissed by federal court

MUMBAI: A lawsuit that was filed in 2009 by plaintiffs- It's My Party, Inc. (IMP) and It’s My Amphitheater, Inc(IMA)., against live entertainment firm Live Nation Entertainment, has been ruled in latter’s favour. The suit was filed in a federal court in Maryland alleging that Live Nation violated federal and state antitrust laws.

United States District Judge J. Frederick Motz issued the ruling. The order issued stated that Live Nation’s motion for summary judgment is granted and plaintiffs’ cross-motion for summary judgment is denied.

In issuing the summary judgment, the court invalidated key elements of the plaintiffs' expert testimony, effectively rejecting allegations that Live Nation coerced any artists, violated any antitrust laws, or engaged in any anti-competitive conduct whatsoever. 

The plaintiffs alleged that Live Nation has unreasonably restrained trade by exercising its market and monopoly power in the promotion and venue service markets.

Live Nation issued a statement regarding the ruling stating, "We are very pleased with the judge's ruling, which we believe validates Live Nation's business approach and practices, and which aligns with our long-standing belief that the accusations made in this case were completely false. We feel vindicated that the court was able to see through the baseless allegations by a rival promoter and recognise that the claims of anti-competitive conduct had no merit.  Our focus is, and will continue to be, providing a world-class live music experience for artists and their millions of fans."

The case involved three parties in the concert industry- artists, local promoters, and national or global promoters.

Both the plaintiffs and Live Nation filed motions to exclude the testimony of the opposing party's proposed expert witnesses. Live Nation moved to strike off four of the plaintiffs’ expert witnesses: Einer Elhauge, Joshua Baron, Chris Bigelow, and Stephen Siwek, while the plaintiffs moved to strike off the testimony of two of defendant’s witnesses: Benjamin Klein and Michael Smith.

The plaintiffs alleged that the section one of the Sherman Act was violated by Live Nation when it tied together its promotion and venue services. IMP and IMA claimed that Live Nation put forth a condition in the national promotion deal with artistes.

There were a series of e-mails submitted by the plaintiffs, trying to prove the allegation. A conversation between Live Nation's Jason Garner and Ted Mankin was also mentioned in the statement. The bands/ artistes mentioned by the plaintiffs included Nine Inch Nails, John Mayer, Jonas Brothers and The Fray, amongst others.

The judge also ruled out that Live Nation does not have monopoly power because the company held less than 75 per cent market share and did not have a fixed percentage.

The concluding statement said that "With this lawsuit, however, plaintiffs are seeking only the profits they would have realised had competition been reduced. This is an injury the antitrust laws do not redress, because they were enacted for the protection of competition, not competitors."

Click here for complete order.