Live Nation has been sued for $90m by the owner of live events venue Masonic Cleveland over claims that the company violated a settlement deal, as well as the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) consent decree.
TempleLive, which owns the 2,000-capacity venue, filed the complaint last week in US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio after a relationship between the pair deteriorated and the entertainment giant stopped booking shows at the venue.
The company is sueing for tortious interference and breach of contract and claims it is owed damages in excess of $90m.
In 2018, TempleLive signed an agreement with Live Nation and Ticketmaster to book, promote, and provide ticketing for all events at Masonic Cleveland.
However, a year later the deal ended as the pair entered into a confidential settlement agreement where both sides “released each other from any claims for additional compensation.”
Live Nation continued to produce shows for a short time after the settlement was reached, with the last performance taking place in November 2019.
According to The Wrap, TempleLive claims that when its new booking agent tried to approach Live Nation about booking shows, an employee said it “would not book events at TempleLive because TempleLive allegedly owes money to Live Nation.” TempleLive said a similar interaction happened with a different Live Nation representative.
TempleLive said: “Live Nation’s false statements have been made, or are reasonably likely to be made, to others in the live music business in Cleveland, or elsewhere throughout the United States.”
According to the lawsuit, the Cleveland firm said that the live entertainment giant is in violation of the settlement agreement and in violation of an agreement it made in 2009 with the DOJ when Ticketmaster and Live Nation merged. In January 2020, a Federal Court in Washington DC agreed to extend the consent decree between the two entertainment giants to 2025.
Live Nation’s consent decree required the firms to follow a set of conditions designed to keep consumer prices in check by preserving competition in the industry. One of those conditions included prohibiting Live Nation from “retaliating” against venues for not using Ticketmaster, or threatening venues.
In this latest legal challenge, Live Nation maintains that it has done no wrong by its former exclusive partner.
“As TempleLive is well aware, following the settlement in 2019 where Live Nation released TempleLive from additional financial claims we walked away from our booking partnership and are under no obligation to continue to book events at the venue. We wish them all the best,” Live Nation said in a statement.