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Free tickets part of Live Nation settlement in NJ

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PNC Bank Arts Center

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) - Hundreds of thousands of people who attended concerts at a New Jersey amphitheater over eight years would get free tickets and discount coupons under a preliminary court settlement reached with promoter Live Nation.

Two New Jersey men sued Live Nation in 2009, claiming it was illegal to tack on a $6 parking fee to each ticket at PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel when not all concertgoers drive. They also charged Live Nation's "no-fee" promotion was deceptive.

A federal judge in Trenton approved the preliminary settlement Monday.

In court papers filed recently, Live Nation estimated that the proposed settlement would affect about 363,000 people who attended shows at the arts center between June 2003 and June 2011. Those people would each be entitled to three free lawn tickets to a concert in the next four years, as well as $5 discount coupons for when they purchase tickets.

Lawn tickets for a concert featuring Journey and the Steve Miller Band next June were listed for $33.75 to $48.50 on Live Nation's website Tuesday.

"We think it's fair value for the claims, and we think that given the fact that these people are all concertgoers, they will appreciate the settlement," said Lee Squitieri, an attorney for one of the plaintiffs.

Henry Wolfe, another plaintiffs' attorney, called the settlement "substantial."

Under terms of the settlement - which still requires final approval after a court hearing next March - Live Nation will admit no wrongdoing. In an emailed statement Tuesday, a spokeswoman said the company wouldn't comment on the settlement details but that it "looks forward to the final resolution of this matter."

Freehold Township resident Michael Katz sued Live Nation in 2009 after buying lawn tickets to a Blink 182 concert. Clifford Davidson, another ticket buyer, filed a similar suit later in the year and the two were combined.

They alleged Live Nation wasn't truthful about its "no service fee Wednesday" promotion and that instead of dropping the fees, the promoter merely incorporated them into the base price of the tickets and then raised the base price.

The parking fee was at the heart of the suit, Wolfe said. Live Nation argued that the fee was added on as a way to ease traffic backups that would have ensued if cars had to stop and pay cash to an attendant. But the lawsuit called the fee "a contrivance for defendants to arbitrarily inflate ticket prices."

If the preliminary settlement receives final approval, Live Nation would still have some control over which concerts it must offer free tickets for. The current agreement requires the promoter to designate a minimum of 60 percent of its live concert events at the PNC Bank Arts Center and Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden as "free ticket events." Live Nation would have sole discretion as to which concerts it designates. A minimum of 200 free tickets would be made available for each show.

Live Nation would also be required to post notices of settlement details in USA Today newspaper editions covering the Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, New Jersey and New York markets, as well as in local New Jersey papers.

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fshsacramento December 03 2013 at 4:58 PM

I love it....."Live Nation will admit no wrongdoing." They don't need to...they were forced to pay so they already have admitted their wrongdoing. What a ridiculous notion......whom does Live Nation think they are trying to kid??

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2 replies
cara fshsacramento December 03 2013 at 6:28 PM

lawn seats!! nobody buys them thoses seats suck, its a win win now the pnc joint makes money off of the food drinks and apparal. you dont think there will be qa kick back to scam nation!!

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1 reply
I LOVE YOU BABY cara December 03 2013 at 6:56 PM

Look behind you next time. Not all of us can afford front row seats. Personally, at my venue, I'd rather have lawn seats over most seats in the pavillion. The front of the lawn is almost as close to the back of the pavillion, AND we have large screen TVs to see closeup action of the stage if we want to.

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vahendren fshsacramento December 03 2013 at 7:29 PM

And they were forced to pay what? A free lawn ticket - or three - is not taking any money out of their pocket. The performer is paid the same amount if there are 20 or 200 or 2000 people on the lawn. Besides that, if you're on the lawn, you're watching it on TV. Three tickets? Most people go to concerts in pairs so most will either let one ticket go or pay for another to make it four. Five dollar discount? Read the article. Doesn't even cover one of the fees. You know, they charge $2.50 to download and print at home. Fee for doing absolutely nothing.

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jen.malcom December 03 2013 at 7:52 PM

Nothing new...LiveNation has been ripping people off all over the country for about ten years, now, and before that, as ticketmaster. I would rather pay more for scalped tickets. Actually, I won't bother with concerts, anymore. Not even worth retail.

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calderasf December 03 2013 at 7:35 PM

Another rip off from corp. America finally got stopped. Greed trumps everything in the new America. So If 4 people ride together each pays $6 to park what a deal for Screwyounation.

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SNUFFY December 03 2013 at 7:34 PM

New Jersey is getting worse then Florida, wait a minute most of the nuts in Florida come from New Jersey....

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propickup December 03 2013 at 6:50 PM

lots of fees that we are charged that we overlook or never ask about. But maybe we should then have a site we can go to talk about them all so we could get a class action suit going. Boy would that wake up the companies. Well what do you think?

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2 replies
ibeyour1 propickup December 03 2013 at 7:13 PM

The problem is that most class action suits benefit only the lawyers (who make millions) and the "class" gets little or no benefit.

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1 reply
jen.malcom ibeyour1 December 03 2013 at 7:54 PM

YOu get $100, the lawer gets a few million...sure...that works. NOT!

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calderasf propickup December 03 2013 at 7:38 PM

You forgot repubnuts made it harder to file class action to protect the 1% when they steal.

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runswthscisors40 December 03 2013 at 6:39 PM

Can't wait for someone to sue Ticketmaster, and their "High Ticket Demand", so you have to buy your tickets at a Ticket Master "auction".....price goes from 39.00/79.00 tickets, immediately up to a minimum of 200.00 per ticket..........plus fees, of course........

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1 reply
ibeyour1 runswthscisors40 December 03 2013 at 7:15 PM

If people would not participate it would stop. People do have the power to put them out of business.

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anyothruser ibeyour1 December 03 2013 at 7:47 PM

I will sinply say that at this point for *elder* superstar shows -geezer rock if you may--the tix are just ridiculous-way out of hand--to them maybe not (too much)out of line....They kno the crappola thats been out there since the mid 90'S --so they just do the rape & pillage....i realized 10-15 yrs ago -not to give in...I've been going to shows since 1970 & have all my stubs saved in an album & back then tix were $3.50-$4.50.. Wait for the dvd or youtube-get a 24pk stay home & charge an admission fee,.,,,-,-.(kidding)--just DONT GO.....think about that disposable income !! you youngins.......theres my *2 indian cents* worth,.,.Gotta go see Ben Gay now.........

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Kwriter December 03 2013 at 6:31 PM

I've hated the place since change its name change from the Garden State Arts Center.

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Keith December 03 2013 at 6:14 PM

This is just as bad when I noticed on my Comcast Cable bill in the Pittsburgh Area that I am now paying a Franchise Fee of $20 dollars per month, what the hell is that all about!!!

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1 reply
ibeyour1 Keith December 03 2013 at 7:16 PM

Have you asked them? Threaten to drop them? Then drop them?

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ponyhoney December 03 2013 at 8:11 PM

I went to my first concert at the PNC Arts Center. Meatloaf. Don't judge me--he was at the top of the charts! Back then it was called the Garden State Arts Center. Tickets were eleven dollars. Then corporate America took over.

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jen.malcom December 03 2013 at 8:06 PM

When the drunken idiots stop paying all those ridiculous prices, and the celebrities alike, start fighting this, then maybe it will stop. I walked by the VIP tent at a KC/TM concert, and it was the size of the food truck I work in, with two women out front, putting seafood salad on crackers...this for $600 per ticket AND UP! I paid $600 for FOUR tickets, and was still ripped off (broker/scalper prices, I know), and a bottle of water outside the gate is $5, and $6 or more inside, with sandwiches or hot dogs being $7 and up! And the fools were paying it! I paid $8 for a drink, because we were dying of thirst. No refills. If you wanted a refill, you had to pay again. You could get ice, but no water...it's ridiculous! I dropped my sunglasses, and they wouldn't let me go and get them from under the bleachers (which were stationary), so I finally had had enough, after being bassed to death (horrible sound crew, apparently), the stage all the way to the left, the screen all the way to the right (only one), the sun JUST above said screen, my seat all the way to the right, but not quite far enough, so I had to strain my neck the entire show, and don't even get me started on Graceless Potter prancing around to a near-wardrobe malfunction, and screaming into the mic. Then, you couldn't understand the lyrics over the bass! It was NOT worth $6, let alone $600! I bought four, thinking two were closer. Just remember, row 1, is row 101 (or more!). People need to stop going to concerts. Not like half the "artists" can even sing, anyway!

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