Baltimore man's lawsuit over Ticketmaster fees moves forward

A federal judge this week allowed a Baltimore man's lawsuit against Ticketmaster's fees to move forward.

U.S. District Judge Ellen Hollander dismissed several of Andre Bourgeois' claims – including allegations that the Live Nation company engaged in "negligent misrepresentation" and "fraud" – but said he could proceed with the core of his case.

Bourgeois is seeking to win a class-action judgment against the ticket-seller after he said he was overcharged at a 2009 Jackson Browne concert at the Lyric Opera House.

Maryland's highest court has ruled that Ticketmaster's fees violate a 1948 Baltimore ordinance designed to curb scalping of Navy football tickets, and which barred companies from charging fees in excess of 50 cents on top of a ticket's stated price.

The City Council has since changed the law to allow the company and other ticket sellers to charge unlimited fees, but Bourgeois' suit targets Ticketmaster's actions before the law was changed.

Bourgeois filed suit in 2011 after being charged $12 in user fees on a $52 ticket to see Browne. His hope was that Ticketmaster would be forced to stop charging the fees for events in Baltimore — and to issue refunds to customers who have paid the charges.

According to his suit, Ticketmaster takes in about $1 billion annually from user fees on $8 billion in ticket sales worldwide. It does not estimate how much of those sales come from Baltimore.

In 2011, Ticketmaster owner Live Nation agreed to pay $22.3 million to customers to settle a class action lawsuit in California over fees.

Lawyers for Bourgeois said they now plan to seek certification from the court for a class-action suit.

Ticketmaster on Friday deferred comment to a statement put out earlier by the co-defendant in this case, Monumental Ticketing: "Monumental Ticketing is pleased that the district court outright dismissed nine of the plaintiff's ten claims. We're looking forward to the final resolution of the lone remaining claim and putting this case behind us."

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