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MLB Sued for Refunds After Season Suspended Due to Covid-19 (1)

April 21, 2020, 1:10 PMUpdated: April 21, 2020, 1:45 PM

Major League Baseball was hit with a $1 billion class action seeking a refund on tickets sold for the 2020 season, which has been suspended due to the coronavirus.

The suit also names all major league teams and ticket sellers Ticketmaster LLC, Live Nation Worldwide Inc., Live Nation Entertainment Inc., Stubhub Inc., and Last Minute Transactions Inc.

Rather than issue refunds, the complaint alleges, the defendants have chosen 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.

“While many businesses across this country have acted lawfully and ethically by providing consumers with refunds for events that will never occur during this pandemic, sometimes at the risk of bankruptcy, it remains notable that America’s pastime – baseball – is refusing to do right by its fans,” the complaint alleges.

“Baseball fans have been held in limbo as a result of an MLB directive not to issue refunds—despite near impossibility to play a standard 162-game season with spectators—in an unprecedented time of economic hardship as a result of the Novel Coronavirus Disease,” the plaintiffs allege.

The suit is brought on behalf of season-ticket holders as well as consumers who purchased single-game tickets.

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.

Cause of Action: California Consumer Legal Remedies Act; California Unfair Competition Law; civil conspiracy; unjust enrichment.

Remedy: Declaratory and injunctive relief; restitution; disgorgement; attorneys’ fees and costs.

Potential Class Size: The plaintiffs seek certification of a class of at least tens of thousands of ticket purchasers.

Response: The Office of Commissioner of Baseball didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Attorneys: Milberg Phillips Grossman LLP represents the plaintiffs.

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, 4/20/20.

(Updated to add additional detail on allegations.)

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