A Superior Court judge in Los Angeles Monday granted a request by Ticketmaster to obtain additional business records from rival StubHub in their legal fight concerning the Lynyrd Skynyrd/Hank Williams Jr. Rowdy Frynds Tour last year.
The decision by Superior Court Judge Mary Thornton House is an incremental victory for Ticketmaster in its lawsuit against StubHub because the additional documents could give Ticketmaster an inside look at how StubHub operates. The exact nature of the business records was not disclosed, but according to the Torrance Daily Breeze, the requested documents look at the relationships and agreements between StubHub and artists for which the company is selling tickets. StubHub can request that certain sensitive information be sealed from public view.
StubHub touted itself as the designated seller of premium tickets, generally in rows one through 10, for the popular Southern rock tour last year, which Ticketmaster objected to because it claimed it has exclusive rights to sell tickets at virtually all of the venues the tour visited. Ticketmaster also objected to a similar move by StubHub and singer Beyonce last year.
Attempts to reach spokepersons today from both companies were unsuccessful. Last spring after the lawsuit was filed, StubHub spokesperson Sean Pate called the suit “without merit” and stressed that StubHub would “vigorously defend itself against these unsubstantiated claims.”
Despite this specific victory, Ticketmaster may still have a difficult time winning the case, according to Marianne Jennings, professor of Legal and Ethical Studies at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and an expert on the ticket industry, who told TicketNews last year that the issues being debated cut to the core of the marketplace.
“The issues in this case point out the problems with a national market, one that includes eBay and StubHub et al. We do not have any consistent view of what tickets are and how they can be regulated, controlled, or restricted. License? Property? Goods? There are different sets of state laws that apply depending on how we classify tickets — this type of case will be important not only for California, but also for other states working to regulate or encourage a ticket market (primary and secondary),” Jennings said.