Lawyer: Ticketmaster Is a 'Massive Cultricidal Octopus' (and Its Settlement Stinks)

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A Boston lawyer argues that the proposed Ticketmaster settlement is an insult to consumers.

615_Octopus.jpg Shutterstock / Jason Mintzer

Yesterday, I published a piece on the recent class action settlement between Ticketmaster and fans who accused the company of ripping them off. I argued that the agreement, which gives customers $1.50 discounts on up to 17 tickets, might initially look like a raw deal for consumers, is actually a pretty decent outcome.

Of course, there are those out there who disagree with me. Violently. And in the interest of lively debate, I thought I would present one of the funniest and most forceful arguments I've seen.

Everyone knows Goldman Sachs is the vampire squid. Thanks to Boston attorney Matthew Cameron public statement of objection, Ticketmaster is now the "cultricidal octopus."

The excerpts below come from a document Cameron filed with the trial court in Los Angeles. So far, the class action has only received preliminary approval from the judge. In May, there will be a fairness hearing in which the court will decide to give the deal its final blessing. Until then, any member of the prospective class is entitled to object to the deal. And, oh, does Cameron object!

On feeling ripped off

As an unwilling repeat Ticketmaster customer, I was in no way surprised to learn that Defendant's "Order Processing Fees" included an arbitrary and undisclosed element of pure profit for Defendant. I had actually assumed that Defendant was cheerfully pocketing all of my "convenience" and "processing" fees, an objectively reasonable belief under the circumstances which, given my vigorous, principled objection to the existence of the massive cultricidal octopus which is the Defendant, has historically caused me substantial mental anguish -- upon point of purchase and beyond -- throughout the Class Period. The proposed $1.50 per transaction does not begin to fairly compensate the suffering which I and other Class members have endured in this regard.

On being owed a drink

In consideration of the existential angst caused by the cognitive dissonance created between being required to contribute to the profits of the one corporation more responsible than any other for the slow death of American live music in exchange for my ability to attend events which provide access to same at prices so exorbitant that the artists themselves routinely apologize for them, I respectfully request that each member of the Class be awarded one (1) "handle" of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey, or, upon request, a check for the cash value of this award (approx. $33).

On the core problem with the settlement

I must respectfully object equally to the insulting form as well as the laughable amount of the award proposed to those Class members who did not have the good sense to be named plaintiffs in this litigation. The proposal to "compensate" the consumers who have suffered most in Defendant's ongoing predatory, monopolistic, and cynical assault on the heart of American musical culture by providing Class members with tiny scraps of corporate scripdesigned solely to further contribute to Defendant's outsized quarterly earnings is a gross insult to the Class as a whole which should not pass the laugh test. This Court would never in good conscience permit a suit against the tobacco industry to be settled by awarding coupons for future cigarette purchases to the families of cancer victims. I respectfully request that this grossly offensive "coupon Settlement" be treated no differently.

On an appropriate remedy

Each Member of the certified Class shall be awarded:
Two (2) unrestricted passes valid for General Admission tickets at a LiveNation-owned venue for any Ticketmaster-administered entertainment eventheld in the United States within the next five (5) years.

One 1.75 liter bottle of Jack Daniel's Tennessee Whiskey or (in the case of
minor Class members or self-identified alcoholics) the cash value (approx.$33) of same.

A personalized letter drafted and personally signed by Ticketmaster CEONathan Hubbard which contains at least two (2) credibly apologeticstatements, to be reviewed prior to delivery for quality of spelling, grammar,and penitence by an objective arbiter designated by the Court.

Ticketmaster Settlement Objection

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Jordan Weissmann is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic.

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