A Connecticut court ruled this week that a defamation lawsuit filed by TicketNetwork against The Bushnell can proceed.
Secondary ticket marketplace TicketNetwork filed the lawsuit in April after Bushnell president and CEO David Fay allegedly made disparaging remarks about the company during a public hearing concerning ticket resale legislation in the state. TicketNetwork supported the proposed bill, but the Bushnell opposed it.
Fay tried to have the defamation case dismissed. His attorneys reportedly argued that comments made during testimony at public hearings are protected.
But in his ruling denying the dismissal, Hartford Superior Court Judge Richard M. Rittenband wrote that while the question of protection could be debated, he did not believe similar statements Fay made to a local newspaper fell under such protections.
“Although the claim of immunity for statements made before a legislative hearing may have merit, it does not implicate the Court’s jurisdiction and is more properly a special defense,” Rittenband wrote. “More importantly, Mr. Fay’s affidavit states that he recounted his testimony to a reporter from the Journal Inquirer, and immunity does not attach to an interview with a newspaper.”
According to the TicketNetwork lawsuit, Fay testified that the company places holds on large amounts of ticket inventory during public onsales for popular events, later buying the best tickets and manipulating the tickets’ resale prices.
The company’s suit went on to say that Fay’s statements were “false, because TicketNetwork functions as an electronic marketplace for the selling of tickets by those who have tickets, and TicketNetwork does not itself buy tickets, or put tickets on hold, or raise the re-sale price on tickets.”
Following the public hearing, Fay allegedly gave an interview to the Journal Inquirer newspaper of Manchester, CT, where he appeared to reiterate his remarks, according to the TicketNetwork lawsuit.
TicketNetwork is the parent company of TicketNews.