A judge found in favor of Ozzy Osbourne in the singer’s antitrust lawsuit against AEG, finding against the company’s motion to dismiss the case on the grounds that Osbourne had no standing.
Osbourne, who rose to fame as the lead singer of progressive metal outfit Black Sabbath and had a string of solo success before embarking on a reality television career that lasts to this day, sued the promotional giant over so-called “block booking” of venues. The lawsuit alleges the company forced acts to commit to playing AEG’s Los Angeles venue, the Staples Center, rather than others in the area if they hoped to perform at London’s O2 Arena, also managed by the company.
AEG argued Osbourne had no right to bring the lawsuit, saying any such agreements were brokered between AEG and Live Nation, which manages the performer (along with competing venues in greater Los Angeles).
U.S. District Court Judge Dale Fischer disagreed.
“AEG argues that Ozzy was free to play anywhere he liked in Los Angeles as long as he did not use Live Nation as his promoter to do so,” he wrote in his ruling, issued Wednesday. “As Ozzy points out, this take on the allegations doesn’t necessarily make AEG’s actions less anticompetitive. But it is arguably different from what is pleaded in the complaint.
“In any event, it is clear that the complaint alleges that Ozzy personally suffers damage in a fairly direct and non-speculative way by not being able to play in his preferred venues and that the damage stems from the kind of conduct that antitrust law is intended to prevent. AEG is alleged to be using market power in one market to foreclose competition in another through a tying arrangement. That tie allegedly harms Ozzy by constricting his choices on where to play his concerts regardless of whether Ozzy’s or his concert promoter’s name is on the contract with the venue.”
The case will continue in U.S. District Court in California. The full ruling can be found at Hollywood Reporter’s website.