As Live Nation's lawyers work to push back a trial with Songkick back two months, the latter company is doing its best to oppose the effort, claiming that it would be financially detrimental to Songkick's financial well-being.
Guest post by Dave Brooks of Amplify
Attorneys for Songkick are opposing an effort by Live Nation’s lawyers to push the trial date back two months in the companies’ longstanding legal battle, a move they say is partially designed to financially hurt the company. With its ticketing business largely shut down and its remaining assets moved over to Warner Music Group, Songkick’s legal team is worried the delay will be costly and time-consuming.
Live Nation’s attorneys request for summary judgement was moved from August to September and as a result, Live Nation attorney Dan Wall with Latham Watkins is asking U.S. District Court Judge Dale Fischer to move the trial date to 2018 to accommodate the time change.
“There simply is not enough time from when a ruling is likely (even a ruling from the bench) and the November 14 trial date to do all that is required,” Wall wrote in an Aug. 2 email to Songkick lawyer Frederick Lorig, seeking to move the date from Nov. 14 to Jan. 23, 2018.
“Songkick does not see any reason to depart from the pretrial schedule and trial date that has been in place since the very beginning of the case,” Lorig replied two hours later. “The court specifically warned us that it would not move the trial date.”
Besides arguing that Live Nation’s request doesn’t meet the standard needed for requesting a continuance, attorneys for Songkick argue it would be financially difficult for the company to delay the case two months. Lorig argued that before the troubles with Live Nation, the company had “hundreds of millions of dollars in business,” a figure that is disputed by sources familiar with the its earnings.
Songkick also said the employees it planned to call as witnesses are former employees who had been laid off, and that scheduling their testimonies could be difficult.
“The witnesses are planning to come to a November trial, but they cannot necessarily commit to a later date; nor can Songkick compel them,” Lorig said. “Furthermore, it is the height of irony for defendants to have previously told this court there was no risk Songkick would be irreparably harmed from defendants’ conduct, yet they then caused that irreparable harm and now use it to argue Songkick will not suffer any additional prejudice from a trial continuance.”
Songkick’s lawyers also argued that the defendants derided that Songkick could continue to conduct artist presales at Ticketmaster-controlled venues, as long as the “artist has a fan club that qualifies under Ticketmaster’s guidelines.” Yet the defendants then went back on their word to this court and cut Songkick entirely out of the artist presale business, which—true to Songkick’s prediction—forced it out of the ticketing business. “It is hypocritical to previously argue to this court that Songkick could not show irreparable injury, turn around and cause that injury, and then argue for a trial delay because Songkick was already irreparably injured,” the lawyers argued.
A ruling on the schedule change is expected soon.
Dave Brooks has over 15 years experience as a writer, including eight years as the Managing Editor of Venues Today. He started Amplify in 2014 to give the industry its own voice and turn up the volume on live entertainment.