Following the DOJ’s attempt to dissolve Live Nation and Ticketmaster, the two businesses were slammed with a $5 billion consumer class action lawsuit.

On Thursday, a consumer class action complaint was filed against Live Nation and Ticketmaster in Manhattan federal court, the first since the US Justice Department attempted to break up the two firms last week. The action seeks $5 billion in damages on behalf of millions of ticket purchasers.

Both the class action lawsuit and the DOJ petition accuse Live Nation of monopolizing the live events market by driving out competitors and pressuring venues who collaborate with Ticketmaster. The class action might be the first of many against Live Nation and Ticketmaster to stem from the government’s case against the businesses.

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On Friday, the case was assigned to US District Judge Arun Subramanian, who was appointed to the court by President Biden last year after representing plaintiffs in antitrust claims at Susman Godfrey. The class action plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from Israel David and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd.

Though the Justice Department’s new case against Live Nation is not dissimilar to its 2010 case addressing the company’s merger with Ticketmaster, the DOJ emphasizes that the previous case involved a different antitrust law, and Live Nation has since demonstrated “more expansive forms of anti-competitive conduct.”
Live Nation has dismissed the government’s action as “baseless,” claiming that the live events sector has “more competition than ever.” According to lawyers who are not engaged in the case but have studied the government brief, Live Nation’s defense could be based in part on the fact that the Justice Department consented to approve the company’s acquisition of Ticketmaster in the first place.

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However, given the government’s approval of the merger requires the corporations to follow previously agreed-upon rules, Live Nation’s inability to do so appears to be reasonable grounds for legal action. However, antitrust lawyers such as Eric Enson of Crowell & Moring, who is not participating in the complaint, believe the government’s argument raises “legal and factual questions about whether a breakup is a legally permissible remedy.”

Legal counsel for the class action plaintiffs did not immediately respond to media inquiries for comment.