Food & Drink

Lyric Opera House, Live Nation sued over concert tickets; theater and company move to dismiss

A Baltimore man suing Live Nation has added the Lyric Opera House to the lawsuit, alleging the theater received "kickbacks" from the behemoth concert promoter. Both the Lyric and Live Nation moved to dismiss Thursday.

The lawsuit comes as Live Nation prepares to settle a separate, $22.3 million class action lawsuit over its service fees.


Andre Bourgeois filed a class action lawsuit against Ticketmaster and its corporate parent, Live Nation, in June in Baltimore's U.S. District Court. He said his Jackson Browne tickets included service fees that were illegal because Live Nation and Ticketmaster are not licensed ticket agencies in Baltimore.

And even if they were, he alleged, ticket agencies are limited to a $.50 add-on service fee. His tickets included $12 in service fees.


Bourgeois voluntarily dropped the suit in November after Live Nation moved to dismiss it, but he filed it again January 5, this time including the Lyric Opera House, where the Browne concert took place nearly three years ago.

Bourgeois claims that a portion of Ticketmaster's service fees are actually "paid as kickbacks to the Lyric, allowing the Lyric itself to collect more from its customers than the advertised ticket prices."

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Bourgeois has so far not been joined by other plaintiffs.

Live Nation moved to dismiss the complaint Thursday, arguing, much like it had during the first lawsuit,  its facility contract with the Lyric meant it was not required itself to be licensed with Baltimore City to sell tickets. The company has similar agreements with other local venues, like 1st Mariner Arena, to sell tickets on their behalf.

Live Nation also argued the statute that establishes the $.50 ceiling on service charges includes an exemption that applies to the company. In addition, it said the sharing of service charges and revenues between the company and the Lyric is a legal and standard business arrangement.

The Lyric also filed  to dismiss Thursday. A spokeswoman for the theater, Nicoletta Macris, has not responded to requests for comment.

In recent years, Ticketmaster and Live Nation, the world's largest concert promoter, have been the subject of several lawsuits over excessive service fees, but has not settled.

That changed last January when it proposed to settle a 2003 lawsuit that accused the company of misleading ticket buyers about processing fees.


Under the proposed settlement, which won't be up for a court approval until May, the company would credit $1.50 to anyone who bought tickets through Ticketmaster between October 1999 and October 2011.