Vivid Seats’ (NASDAQ: SEAT) proposed settlement of class action claims regarding its failure to issue refunds for tickets related to events cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic was approved Monday, paving the way for the disbursement of $7.5 million in funds to those impacted. The settlement was initially agreed to between Vivid Seats and the principal plaintiffs in March, and was approved over the opposition of “a handful of objectors” according to Bloomberg.
“While the relief does not quite make every claimant entirely whole, it comes close,” Judge Robert M. Dow, Jr. said. “Only in a rare case, where liability is overwhelming, will class plaintiffs obtain a full and complete recovery.”
The final approved settlement will pay out $2.25 million in attorney’s fees, with the remaining funds spread out among “many thousands” of class members in the U.S. and Canada who purchased tickets through Vivid Seats for events that were later cancelled, postponed, or rescheduled. Those who qualify are able to submit a claim for a cash payment from the settlement fund equal to the purchase price of the tickets to the impacted events. The lead plaintiffs in the case will also receive a $2,500 incentive payment for their efforts.
California consumers will also have the ability to access “additional relief” from Vivid Seats outside of the settlement fund, due to “concerns raised by government officials in California under California Business and Professions Code section 22500“, which includes penalties of up to $2,500 per violation.
Vivid Seats was one of several companies to rapidly shift their refund policies in early 2020 when COVID put a near-immediate stop on all large scale events in March. Lawsuits were filed over the changes, which included a shift from cash refunds to consumers when events were cancelled (rather than rescheduled) to vouchers good towards future purchases on the marketplace. Just this week, New York Attorney General Letitia James announced a $4.4 million settlement over similar issues in New York, where several Vivid Seats “white label” clients had failed to pay out refunds due to consumers in the state.
Vivid Seats is still in its first month of being a public company, having merged with Horizon Acquisitions Corp. in mid-October. It is trading on the NASDAQ as SEAT, and is hovering around $13 per share after reaching as high as $14.35 in its initial rush out of the gate.
Last Updated on November 3, 2021 by Dave Clark