MLB, Ticketmaster Seek Stay in Covid-19 Refund Suit

July 1, 2020, 5:13 PM

Major League Baseball, Ticketmaster LLC and several other ticket sellers asked the Central District of California to stay all discovery in a $1 billion class action seeking a refund on tickets sold for the 2020 season, which has been suspended due to the coronavirus.

MLB and all major league teams filed the motion Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California in support of a June 26 motion filed by the ticket sellers, which also include Live Nation Worldwide Inc., Live Nation Entertainment Inc., Stubhub Inc., and Last Minute Transactions Inc.

“Plaintiffs have purported to serve the baseball defendants with wide-ranging and invasive document requests broadly aimed at the merits of this dispute,” the MLB said.

Citing its intent to file motions to compel arbitration and to dismiss, the league said “the burden that those requests would impose is not justified in light of the very real prospect that upcoming motions practice will end this matter.”

The plaintiffs, in a motion also filed Tuesday, asked the court to deny the stay, saying the “mere intention to file motions to dismiss and conclusory assertions about it” don’t meet the “strong showing of good cause” standard.

The plaintiffs seek certification of a class of “at least tens of thousands” of ticket purchasers who were denied refunds for season ticket packages as well as single games.

The complaint alleges the defendants are trying to shift their losses to fans, furthering their financial hardship during a time when thousands of Americans have died and millions have filed unemployment claims.

The complaint alleges that at least $1 billion in consumer capital is tied up in tickets to games that are suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Judge Dale S. Fischer is assigned to the case.

Milberg Phillips Grossman LLP represents the plaintiffs.

Keker Van Nest and Peters LLP represents the MLB.

Latham and Watkins LLP represents Ticketmaster and Live Nation.

McDermott Will and Emery represents StubHub.

For additional legal resources, visit Bloomberg Law In Focus: Coronavirus (Bloomberg Law Subscription).

The case is Ajzenman v. Office of Comm’r of Baseball, C.D. Cal., No. 20-cv-03643, 6/30/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Peter Hayes in Washington at PHayes@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rob Tricchinelli at rtricchinelli@bloomberglaw.com; Patrick L. Gregory at pgregory@bloomberglaw.com

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