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and the Class ) ) v. ) ) TICKETMASTER, a Delaware Corporation ) ___________________________________________)
No. BC304565 STATEMENT OF OBJECTION TO PROPOSED SETTLEMENT OF CLASS ACTION
STATEMENT OF OBJECTION TO PROPOSED CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT AND PRAYER FOR RELIEF NOW COMES Matthew S. Cameron (“Cameron”), a bona fide Class member in the above-captioned action, to file his written objection to the proposed Settlement Agreement and Release (“the Settlement”) in this matter dated September 2, 2011.1 In support of this Objection, Cameron states2 as follows: I. STATEMENT OF CLASS MEMBERSHIP, POTENTIAL BENEFIT UNDER THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT, AND INTENT TO APPEAR 1) I am a bona fide member of this certified Class. I estimate that I have purchased approximately eighteen (18) tickets through Ticketmaster.com between October 21, 1999 and October 17, 2011 (the “Class Period”), all of which included Order Processing Fees, and none of which were delivered via UPS. In recent memory, these included (but were not limited to): “Cinematic Titanic” (Two tickets at the Wilbur Theater, 10/29/2010), Amanda Palmer (Two tickets at the Paradise, 11/24/2008), The Pogues (Two tickets at the Orpheum, 3/20/2008), Modest Mouse (Two tickets at the Orpheum, 4/27/2007), The Flaming Lips (One ticket at the Boston BOA Pavilion, 9/10/2006), as well as a number of tickets for Radiohead, Sigur Ros, and a number of other concerts throughout the Class Period. My Ticketmaster.com account has been linked to both email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. 2) Were this Settlement to be approved, I would be awarded a credit of one dollar and fifty cents ($1.50) toward a single future Ticketmaster.com transaction3 for each of seventeen of
Although Cameron is a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, this Objection is filed pro se solely on his own behalf as a member of the certified Class. Cameron avers that this the first instance anywhere in the world in which he has ever filed an objection to a settlement in a class action.
The following is intended as a comprehensive overview of Cameron’s objections to the Settlement. Further detailed briefing of the issues raised below is available upon request.
my previous purchases during the Class Period, or a total of $25.50 denominated into seventeen single-use vouchers of $1.50. 3) I am willing and able to attend these proceedings on May 29, 2012. In fact, I believe that the seriousness of the principled objections to this Settlement detailed below may perhaps be best measured by my willingness to leave the established comforts of New England to travel not only to California but to a courtroom in Los Angeles.4 4) I am also amenable to attending a deposition in Boston upon reasonable notice. II. STATEMENT OF OBJECTIONS TO THE PROPOSED SETTLEMENT
A. The Settlement provides no cognizable rights, privileges, or benefits to the Class.
5) The Settlement as proposed is virtually useless to Class members in that: a. The proposed award would be parceled into, at most, seventeen de minimis installments; b. The proposed award has no cash value, and c. The proposed award is plainly designed to directly profit Defendants at the further expense of the Class. 6) In the alternative, I have proposed a comprehensive compensation package for each Class member (including, but not limited to, two unrestricted passes to any Ticketmaster event in the next five years) in my Prayer for Relief.
B. The Settlement fails to account for pain and suffering caused to members of the Class by Defendant’s unfair and monopolistic business practices.
7) 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. 8) 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
Approximately 17% of the cost of a single Ticketmaster so-called “convenience fee.”
All, I am compelled to add, on what I anticipate will be a perfectly lovely, smog-free spring Tuesday in Boston.
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”5 of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, or, upon request, a check for the cash value of this award (approx. $33).6
C. The Settlement unfairly forces Class members to continue to contribute to the profits of the same corporation which has unlawfully extracted $100 million from the Class throughout the Class Period.
9) 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 scrip designed 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.
D. The Settlement provides for an award to the Class Representatives which is wholly disproportionate to either the injuries alleged or the efforts expended on behalf of the Class.
10) By contrast to the Class members, each of the Class Representatives would, under the terms of the proposed Settlement, receive a lump-sum payment of $20,000 in compensation for the apparently onerous burden imposed upon them by having to “respond to substantial discovery requests”7 throughout the pendency of these proceedings. I must object to this excessive award. It is beyond my otherwise-febrile imagination what, if anything, these requests would have amounted to beyond copies of electronic or printed receipts reflecting purchases from Ticketmaster.com during the Class Period.
I respectfully suggest that this award (respectfully and seriously proposed) is no more arbitrary or capricious (and, as an administrative matter, actually far easier for Defendant to pay out) than the proposed award of a $1.50 voucher per proven Ticketmaster.com transaction. My proposed award is calculated based upon an estimated average amount of hard liquor consumed per Class member while reflecting upon, complaining about, or otherwise discussing the gross inequities of Defendant’s business practices throughout the course of the entire 12-year Class Period.
See “Notice of Proposed Settlement,” received by email from email@example.com 11/29/2011. 3
11) As grounds for this objection, I estimate that I could easily produce and print complete copies of the same evidence from my email archives within five (5) minutes. I would be more than happy to do so upon request with my compliments simply as a courtesy to the Court and the parties.8 12) I have outlined a far more reasonable proposed compensation package for the Class Representatives (including, but not limited to, the opportunity to personally hand-deliver irrevocable lifetime waivers from the use of all Ticketmaster services to their favorite artists) in my Prayer for Relief, and respectfully request that this be substituted for the award proposed in the Settlement.
E. The Settlement allows for the possibility of counsel fees which are wholly unconscionable.
13) Under the proposed Settlement, Lead Class Counsel will be eligible to request and receive fees of up to fifteen million dollars ($15,000,000) in consideration for eight years of purported service toward negotiating a Settlement under which each Class member would receive an “award” which not only has no cash value, but is otherwise virtually useless to anyone but Defendant.9 Given the questionable value of this fundamentally cynical exercise to anyone but Counsel and Defendant, I strongly object to the grant of Counsel fees and/or costs at any hourly rate exceeding that which may be billed by courtappointed counsel in Los Angeles County pursuant to the standards of the Indigent Criminal Defense Appointments Program.
F. The Settlement is wholly insufficient to provide a plausible deterrent against future unfair and deceptive business practices by Defendant.
14) It is apparent from prior filings in these proceedings that Defendant has knowingly and intentionally taken over $100 million from consumers over the course of the Class Period simply by abusing its monopoly over the American ticketing industry and openly misrepresenting the nature of its Order Processing Fee. Although it is plainly obvious that this money properly belongs to the Class, and not the Defendant, the Settlement is in no way structured or designed to reflect this basic fact. Regardless, absent proper punitive damages
Although I certainly would not decline any offer up to or exceeding $20,000 in consideration for my time and toner.
Speaking generously in terms which presume any cash value to the award, this represents 1/10,000,000th of Counsel’s possible fee. (Or, to be somewhat ludicrously optimistic, the approximate cash value of one standard cup of brewed drip coffee.)
Defendant has no clear disincentive against introducing even subtler and more predatory ways to arbitrarily part music fans from their money. 15) It is beyond question that Defendant Ticketmaster has established a near-total monopoly within the American event ticketing industry. Furthermore, Defendant has singlehandedly redefined the phrase “vertical integration” to a degree which leaves the motion picture industry of the mid-20th century looking like the rank amateurs which they truly were. See, e.g., U.S. v. Paramount Pictures, 334 U.S. 131 (1948). Only two decades ago, the total top-to-bottom empire which Defendant has amassed following its merger with Live Nation would have been considered unlawful under an archaic precept of American law formerly known as “antitrust,”10—not to mention unhealthy and (to the extent that this is relevant in any American courtroom) wholly immoral.11 Otherwise-respectable established artists who wish to perform at any major venue in the United States have found themselves in a forced marriage with Defendant, while independents who are not willing to “pay for play” have been all but excluded from any possibility of reaching a larger audience. 16) Given this history, it should come as no surprise that Defendant took full advantage of its complete dominance of the industry to exploit consumers who had no choice but to use their services in order to gain entry to their favorite live attractions into remitting a few more dollars than strictly necessary per transaction. Unfortunately, Representative Class Members and Class Counsel have shown themselves (to the extent actually possible) to be nearly as shameless as (and certainly far more craven than) the Defendant in their wanton disregard for the interests of the Class once seated at the mediation table. Rather than seeking anything of any actual value (including an actual cash refund, no matter how small), Plaintiffs and Counsel have openly sold this Class out for a breathtakingly Defendant-friendly award of exceptionally limited value which only a marginal fraction of the Class will ever conceivably go to the trouble of actually using—and then largely to the Defendant’s, rather than the Class’s, benefit. 17) In light of the significant fraud upon the consumer which gave rise to this Action, I am respectfully requesting that punitive damages be imposed in the amount of charitable donations to total $100 million. The form and structure of these damages are further outlined in the Prayer for Relief below.
Extant 20th-century audiovisual records indicate that this archaic English word was most commonly pronounced “Anne-tee-trust.”
To be clear: Defendant now has direct ownership interests not only in our nation’s most influential concert promoter, but also in nearly every venue in the United States in which artists are performing—as well strong ties to the radio stations, billboards, and other advertising outlets which promote these events, and even two major ticket resellers. Integration doesn’t get much more vertical than that. 5
PRAYER FOR RELIEF REQUESTED
In lieu of the proposed September 2, 2011 Settlement, Cameron respectfully requests that the following relief be ordered at the Court’s earliest convenience: (1) Each Member of the certified Class shall be awarded: i. Two (2) unrestricted passes valid for General Admission tickets at a Live Nation-owned venue for any Ticketmaster-administered entertainment event held in the United States within the next five (5) years; and ii. 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; and iii. A personalized letter drafted and personally signed by Ticketmaster CEO Nathan Hubbard which contains at least two (2) credibly apologetic statements, to be reviewed prior to delivery for quality of spelling, grammar, and penitence by an objective arbiter designated by the Court. (2) Each Member of the UPS Subclass shall receive the full award granted to the certified Class, as well as: i. Five (5) shares of United Parcel Service Class B stock (approx. value $340).
(3) Class Representative Peter Lo Re shall, in compensation for the inflated Order Processing Fees associated with UPS delivery of the two Bruce Springsteen tickets outlined in the Complaint, be awarded: i. One CD copy of Bruce Springsteen: Collection 1973-1974 (approx. value: $30.95); ii. Fifteen (15) shares of United Parcel Service Class B stock (approx. value $1020); iii. A copy of an immediately-effective Memorandum of Understanding between Ticketmaster and Bruce Springsteen (“The Boss”) granting The Boss an irrevocable lifetime waiver from use of all Ticketmaster services at his exclusive option; and iv. Two (2) VIP tickets to a future Bruce Springsteen concert of LoRe’s choice and the opportunity to personally deliver the original Memorandum of Understanding noted above to The Boss backstage.
(3) Class Representative Curtis Schlesinger shall, in compensation for the inflated Order Processing Fees associated with the UPS delivery of the four Wilco tickets outlined in the Complaint, be awarded: i. Nineteen (19) shares of United Parcel Service Class B stock (approx. value $1292); and ii. A copy of an immediately-enforceable Memorandum of Understanding between Ticketmaster and Wilco granting Wilco an irrevocable lifetime waiver from use of all Ticketmaster services at Wilco’s exclusive option; and iii. Four (4) VIP tickets to a Wilco concert of Schlesinger’s choice and the opportunity to personally deliver the original Memorandum of Understanding noted above to Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy backstage.
(4) Class Counsel’s fee shall be set at a rate of no more than sixty-nine dollars ($69) per hour, the standard rate for private criminal counsel appointed to represent indigent criminal defendants charged with misdemeanors in Los Angeles County.12 Prior to approval of Counsel’s fee, Counsel shall provide all Class members with a detailed itemized bill for actual hours of work on this Action from 2003 to the present, as well as a written explanation as to why Counsel believed this “coupon Settlement” to be in the Class’s best interest. Counsel’s associated costs shall be awarded according to the standards of the Los Angeles County Indigent Criminal Defense Appointments Program.
(4) In light of the proven fraud against consumers which gave rise to this Action, Defendant shall comply with Sec. 2.10 of the Settlement (“Form of Charitable Payments”),13 with the following minor Amendments: i. Charitable donations shall total $100 million, the lowest estimated amount which Defendant has unlawfully charged the entire Class throughout the Class Period; and ii. The phrase “25% cash payments and 75% free tickets” shall be amended to “75% cash payments and 25% free tickets”; and iii. The definition of “Full Retail Value” shall be amended to remove any reference to “fees and other charges.”
It should be noted that this is a full nineteen (19) dollars above the set hourly rate for equivalent services here in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, as well as a full nine (9) dollars above the hourly rate for appointments in all Massachusetts Superior Court cases other than capital offenses.
Hereby severed from the Settlement and incorporated by reference. 7
CONCLUSION IN LIGHT OF THE ABOVE, Class member Cameron hereby registers his strongest possible objection to the proposed Settlement, and respectfully requests that this Court: I. II. III. Reject the proposed Settlement in its entirety (other than the explicitly stated “NonEconomic Settlement Terms”) in the interest of justice; and Grant all relief requested above; and Grant any further relief which it may deem appropriate.
Respectfully submitted, pro se,
_____________________________ MATTHEW S. CAMERON 463 Sumner Street #3 East Boston, Mass. 02128 (617)-416-5558 firstname.lastname@example.org
CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE I, Matthew S. Cameron, appearing pro se as an objector in this matter, have caused a complete copy of the above Objection to be served upon: Plaintiffs’ Counsel / Lead Class Counsel Steven P. Blonder, Esq. Much Shelist Denenberg Ament & Rubenstein, P.C. 191 North Wacker Drive Suite 1800 Chicago, Illinois 60606 W. Michael Hensley, Esq. Robert J. Stein III, Esq. AlvaradoSmith 1 MacArthur Place, Suite 200 Santa Ana, California 92707 Ticketmaster’s Counsel Jeff E. Scott, Esq. Greenberg Traurig, LLP 2450 Colorado Avenue, Suite 400E Santa Monica, California 90404 By first class mail this 30th of November, 2011. ________________________ MATTHEW S. CAMERON
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