Fourth Circuit Affirms Summary Judgment for Live Nation in Antitrust Case

In an important decision released on February 4, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed summary judgment for WSGR client Live Nation in a case brought by a rival concert promoter and venue operator. The case is It's My Party, Inc. v. Live Nation, No. 15-1278 (4th Cir.).

The plaintiffs are owned by Seth Hurwitz, a significant concert promoter in the Washington, D.C./Baltimore area, and the operator of D.C.'s 9:30 Club and Baltimore's Merriweather Post Pavilion. They claimed that Live Nation was improperly requiring artists to perform at Live Nation's Jiffy Lube Live amphitheater near Washington (formerly Nissan Pavilion) if the artist wanted Live Nation to promote them in other locations. Both the district court and the court of appeals agreed that there was no such evidence, and that the challenged conduct was nothing more than good-faith competition and negotiation. The plaintiffs also challenged the fact that Live Nation is a large promoter, operates numerous venues, and owns the leading ticketing company, Ticketmaster; they argued that this gave Live Nation an unfair advantage. The court forcefully rejected these arguments, concluding that consumers benefit when the whole "becomes greater than the sum of its parts as Live Nation is able to offer advantages only made possible by selling distinct but complementary products together."

The WSGR team representing Live Nation in the matter included Charles Biggio, Jonathan Jacobson, Yuan Ji, Chul Pak, and Lucy Yen.

For more information, please refer to the court's opinion.