With speculation swirling throughout the industry that ticketing’s two top dogs, Ticketmaster Entertainment and StubHub may have settled a nearly two-year-old lawsuit between them, TicketNews has learned that Ticketmaster is separately seeking to seal a recent deposition in the case by President and CEO Sean Moriarty because of its potentially sensitive nature.
In a California Superior Court filing this month obtained by TicketNews, Ticketmaster is trying to keep Moriarty’s testimony, and that of the company’s former Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing David Goldberg, from being made public, based on some prior agreements between the litigants on what may be withheld.
“The excerpts of the deposition testimony of Ticketmaster CEO Sean Moriarty has been designated by Ticketmaster as ‘Highly Confidential – Outside Attorneys’ Eyes Only,’ and the excerpts of the deposition testimony of former Ticketmaster Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing David Goldberg has been designated ‘Highly Confidential –Attorneys’ Eyes Only,’ pursuant to the joint stipulations and protective orders entered by the court on December 6, 2007 and February 13, 2008 (governing the designation of documents as ‘Highly Confidential – Attorneys’ Eyes Only,’ and governing the designation of documents as ‘Outside Counsels’ Eyes Only,’ respectively),” the motion stated.
In April 2007, Ticketmaster sued StubHub, and its parent company eBay, for alleged contract infringement for StubHub’s part in offering premium tickets to the Rowdy Frynds Tour featuring Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams Jr. Ticketmaster accused StubHub of infringing on exclusive contracts for which Ticketmaster had ticket-selling rights for events at all but two of the 20 venues the tour booked.
The case is tentatively set to go to trial on April 28, 2009, just over two years from when it was initially filed, but speculation persists throughout the industry that the two sides may have settled, or are close to settling the case. According to an attorney familiar with the case, the motion to seal the depositions and the penciled in trial date does not mean the two sides are not talking or have not reached an agreement.
However, neither side is confirming anything. Ticketmaster spokesperson Albert Lopez did not respond to a message seeking comment, and StubHub spokesperson Sean Pate told TicketNews that he did not have any information from the legal team on the matter at this time.
Ticketmaster’s lead attorney on the case, Steven Sletten of the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, could not be reached for comment.
“Moreover, there is a substantial probability that Ticketmaster will be prejudiced if the Confidential testimony is not sealed because the deposition excerpts at issue contain discussions of highly-sensitive confidential business information of Ticketmaster, including, but not limited to, Ticketmaster’s overarching business strategy and its reasons for acquiring interests in Frontline Management and SLO Limited, Inc., as well as confidential discussions had during the acquisition negotiations with representatives from these entities. Ticketmaster has specifically sought to keep this information confidential from the public, and in some instances, from StubHub, by invoking the protective orders. StubHub has not objected to the prior designation of the Confidential testimony,” the motion stated.
Besides involving the two biggest players in the ticketing industry, the case has embroiled outside parties, such as TicketNews, which successfully defended a subpoena from StubHub to turn over a recording of a May 2008 meeting between Ticketmaster and broker clients.