‘Belieber’ Must Amend Ticket-Price Objections

     (CN) – A concertgoer who spent more than $1,300 on Bon Jovi and Justin Bieber shows must amend claims that AEG Live inflated the ticket prices, a federal judge ruled.
     Jessica Pollard says she bought four $175 tickets over a month in advance for Bon Jovi’s May 29, 2010, concert at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. as part of his tour “The Circle.”
     Pollard also bought three $213 tickets to a July 2013 Justin Bieber concert, part of the “Believe” tour, at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on April 8, 2013.
     She claimed in a February 2014 complaint against tour promoters AEG Live LLC, AEG Live N.J. LLC and Concerts West that the amount she paid exceeded the tickets’ face value.
     Pollard said AEG wrongfully withheld the tickets for sale to the general public to inflate their prices.
     U.S. District Judge Stanley Chesler last week dismissed the action, which alleged violations of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act (NJCFA) and unjust enrichment.
     “Plaintiff does not identify any act of withholding tickets in which defendants allegedly engaged,” he wrote. “The amended complaint avers, in the barest language, that ‘upon information and belief, defendants withheld more than 5 percent of tickets to the Bon Jovi concerts from sale to the general public.’ The allegation of wrongdoing with respect to the Justin Bieber concerts is equally spare.”
     Pollard had no basis for her “conclusory” claim, found only in her opposition brief, that AEG gave tickets to insiders and knowingly diverted tickets into the resale market, the decision states.
     “Plaintiff appears to rely on the logic that because she purchased tickets to the Bon Jovi and Justin Bieber concerts on the secondary market and paid an amount in excess of face value for the tickets, AEG must have withheld tickets from sale to the public in violation of Section 35.1,” Chesler wrote. “This conclusion, that AEG restricted the market for tickets to the Bon Jovi and Justin Bieber concerts, does not necessarily follow from the sole factual premise given in support. Based on the facts, it is equally plausible that plaintiff’s purchase occurred on the secondary market because the general demand was such that all tickets had sold out prior to the date on which she bought tickets.”
     Pollard did impress the judge by contending “that AEG wrongfully manipulated the market for tickets to the concerts by withholding an amount of tickets in excess of the amount permitted by Section 35.1 and thus drove up the ticket price by reducing the supply available to the general public.”
     “Her claim that she overpaid for the tickets as a result of defendants’ alleged NJCFA violation is not premised on a fraud on the market, but rather on the basic economic reality of supply and demand,” the ruling continues.
     Pollard may amend her claims for fraud, but not for unjust enrichment, the ruling states.
     “Even insofar as Pollard may argue that AEG has been unjustly enriched by her purchase of the overly expensive tickets, the amended complaint does not allege that she bought the tickets from AEG or that the parties were otherwise in some direct relationship,” Chesler wrote. “Indeed, the amended complaint does not actually identify the seller of Pollard’s tickets.”

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