COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES
|9 Months Ended|
Sep. 30, 2015
|Commitments and Contingencies Disclosure [Abstract]|
|COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES||
COMMITMENTS AND CONTINGENT LIABILITIES
Ticketing Fees Consumer Class Action Litigation
In October 2003, a putative representative action was filed in the Superior Court of California challenging Ticketmaster’s charges to online customers for shipping fees and alleging that its failure to disclose on its website that the charges contain a profit component is unlawful. The complaint asserted a claim for violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law (“UCL”) and sought restitution or disgorgement of the difference between (i) the total shipping fees charged by Ticketmaster in connection with online ticket sales during the applicable period, and (ii) the amount that Ticketmaster actually paid to the shipper for delivery of those tickets. In August 2005, the plaintiffs filed a first amended complaint, then pleading the case as a putative class action and adding the claim that Ticketmaster’s website disclosures in respect of its ticket order processing fees constitute false advertising in violation of California’s False Advertising Law. On this new claim, the amended complaint seeks restitution or disgorgement of the entire amount of order processing fees charged by Ticketmaster during the applicable period. In April 2009, the Court granted the plaintiffs’ motion for leave to file a second amended complaint adding new claims that (a) Ticketmaster’s order processing fees are unconscionable under the UCL, and (b) Ticketmaster’s alleged business practices further violate the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act. Plaintiffs later filed a third amended complaint, to which Ticketmaster filed a demurrer in July 2009. The Court overruled Ticketmaster’s demurrer in October 2009.
The plaintiffs filed a class certification motion in August 2009, which Ticketmaster opposed. In February 2010, the Court granted certification of a class on the first and second causes of action, which allege that Ticketmaster misrepresents/omits the fact of a profit component in Ticketmaster’s shipping and order processing fees. The class would consist of California consumers who purchased tickets through Ticketmaster’s website from 1999 to present. The Court denied certification of a class on the third and fourth causes of action, which allege that Ticketmaster’s shipping and order processing fees are unconscionably high. In March 2010, Ticketmaster filed a Petition for Writ of Mandate with the California Court of Appeal, and plaintiffs also filed a Motion for Reconsideration of the Superior Court’s class certification order. In April 2010, the Superior Court denied plaintiffs’ Motion for Reconsideration of the Court’s class certification order, and the Court of Appeal denied Ticketmaster’s Petition for Writ of Mandate. In June 2010, the Court of Appeal granted the plaintiffs’ Petition for Writ of Mandate and ordered the Superior Court to vacate its February 2010 order denying plaintiffs’ motion to certify a national class and enter a new order granting plaintiffs’ motion to certify a nationwide class on the first and second claims. In September 2010, Ticketmaster filed its Motion for Summary Judgment on all causes of action in the Superior Court, and that same month plaintiffs filed their Motion for Summary Adjudication of various affirmative defenses asserted by Ticketmaster. In November 2010, Ticketmaster filed its Motion to Decertify Class.
In December 2010, the parties entered into a binding agreement providing for the settlement of the litigation and the resolution of all claims therein. In September 2011, the Court declined to approve the settlement in its then-current form. Litigation continued, and later that same month, the Court granted in part and denied in part Ticketmaster’s Motion for Summary Judgment. The parties reached a new settlement in September 2011, which was preliminarily approved, but in September 2012 the Court declined to grant final approval. In June 2013, the parties reached a revised settlement, which was preliminarily approved by the Court in April 2014. In February 2015, the Court granted the parties’ motion for final approval of the settlement. Several objectors to the settlement appealed the Court’s final approval ruling. Those appeals have been consolidated and will be briefed in 2016. Ticketmaster and its parent, Live Nation, have not acknowledged any violations of law or liability in connection with the matter.
As of September 30, 2015, the Company had accrued $34.9 million, its best estimate of the probable costs associated with the settlement referred to above. The calculation of this liability is based in part upon an estimated redemption rate. Any difference between the Company’s estimated redemption rate and the actual redemption rate it experiences will impact the final settlement amount; however, the Company does not expect this difference to be material.
From time to time, the Company is involved in other legal proceedings arising in the ordinary course of its business, including proceedings and claims based upon purported violations of antitrust laws, intellectual property rights and tortious interference, which could cause the Company to incur significant expenses. The Company has also been the subject of personal injury and wrongful death claims relating to accidents at its venues in connection with its operations. As required, the Company has accrued its estimate of the probable settlement or other losses for the resolution of any outstanding claims. These estimates have been developed in consultation with counsel and are based upon an analysis of potential results, including, in some cases, estimated redemption rates for the settlement offered, assuming a combination of litigation and settlement strategies. It is possible, however, that future results of operations for any particular period could be materially affected by changes in the Company’s assumptions or the effectiveness of its strategies related to these proceedings.
The entire disclosure for commitments and contingencies.
Reference 1: http://www.xbrl.org/2003/role/presentationRef