(February 15, 2012, Weil News)
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP scored another complete dismissal with prejudice at the pleading stage of a proposed class action alleging that clients StubHub and the Philadelphia Phillies baseball team deceived consumers into paying higher prices for tickets purchased on StubHub’s website. In its opinion and order dismissing plaintiff’s complaint with prejudice, issued February 15, 2012, less than two weeks after oral argument, the court concluded that, given an exemption in Pennsylvania's ticket statute for Internet resales and StubHub's numerous disclosures on its site that it does not sell tickets and is a fan-to-fan secondary ticket marketplace, plaintiff's claims were implausible.
Plaintiff filed suit in federal court in California late last year, claiming principally that StubHub’s practice of not disclosing the face value of the resold ticket violated Pennsylvania's ticket statute, which regulates the sale and resale of tickets to Phillies' baseball games, and California's unfair competition law (UCL), which prohibits unlawful, unfair or deceptive trade practices. The court held that plaintiff could not sue under the Pennsylvania ticket statute because it contained no private right of action. As for plaintiff's UCL claim under the unlawful prong, the court held that it failed because there was no violation of the borrowed Pennsylvania ticket law, which exempted Internet resales. The court also rejected Plaintiff's UCL claim under the unfair prong because plaintiff willingly agreed to pay the resale price for his Phillies' tickets and the alleged failure to print the face value information on his electronically re-issued tickets after the transaction could not have harmed him since he had already agreed to pay the resale price. The court held further that plaintiff's UCL claim under the deceptive or fraudulent prong failed because a reasonable consumer would understand that a third-party ticket seller would attempt to make a profit, like any business, and StubHub clearly disclosed that it was not the ticket seller and that ticket prices may differ from face value. Finally, the court denied plaintiff's motion to amend his complaint on the ground that to do so would be futile.
Weil won dismissal in a similar action
against StubHub, eBay and the New York Yankees last year, where plaintiff's claims also were dismissed with prejudice at the pleading stage.
The Weil Litigation team was based in New York and included partner David Lender and associates Eric Hochstadt and Kristen Echemendia. The team was assisted by partner Christopher Cox and associate Liani Kotcher based in Silicon Valley.