A judge has given the go-ahead to a class-action lawsuit against Ticketmaster and Madison Square Garden for allegedly selling seats with obstructed views. As many as 7,840 customers may be eligible to join the suit, for tickets purchased to Michael Jackson's thirtieth anniversary concert in September 2001.
Dana Gross, who claims she paid $98.50 -- before Ticketmaster service charges (which have more than doubled since the defeat of Pearl Jam's mid-Nineties crusade) -- for each of six tickets she purchased for her and her friends. Gross and company expected to see not only the King of Pop, but a much-touted Jackson 5 reunion, as well as performances by special guests Britney Spears, Liza Minnelli and Ray Charles. What they got instead was a view of a wall and a television screen on which to view the onstage extravaganza.
Although Gross sent a letter of complaint to Ticketmaster, she claims the company's reply was dismissive at best. Gross is requesting compensation, along with an injunction barring both the ticket company and the Garden from selling obstructed-view seats without prior notice in the future.
In his ruling, made public yesterday, the Manhattan Supreme Court judge agreed that these thousands of ticket buyers had "received no advance notice that their seats were inadequate for viewing purposes" -- even though a Garden executive admitted employees were aware of the obstruction days before the concert. The judge established deceptive business practices, breach of contract and unjust enrichment as the valid grounds of the suit.
A date for the trial has yet to be set.