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Batson v. Live Nation Entm't, Inc.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

March 25, 2014

JAMES BATSON, Plaintiff-Appellant,
v.
LIVE NATION ENTERTAINMENT, INC., et al., Defendants-Appellees

Argued November 14, 2013.

Page 828

Appeal from the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division. No. 11 C 1226 -- Gary S. Feinerman, Judge.

For James Batson, Plaintiff - Appellant: Mark T. Lavery, Lavery Law Firm, Des Plaines, IL; Christopher V. Langone, Ithaca, NY.

For Live Nation, Entertainment, Incorporated, Defendant - Appellee: Sean M. Berkowitz, Latham & Watkins Llp, Chicago, IL; Sadik Harry Huseny, Daniel Murray Wall, Latham & Watkins Llp, San Francisco, CA.

For Live Nation Worldwide, Incorporated, Defendant - Appellee: Sean M. Berkowitz, Latham & Watkins Llp, Chicago, IL; Sadik Harry Huseny, Daniel Murray Wall, Latham & Watkins Llp, San Francisco, CA.

For Live Nation Chicago, Incorporated, Defendant - Appellee: Sean M. Berkowitz, Latham & Watkins Llp, Chicago, IL; Sadik Harry Huseny, Daniel Murray Wall, Latham & Watkins Llp, San Francisco, CA.

Before WOOD, Chief Judge, and CUDAHY and ROVNER, Circuit Judges.

OPINION

Page 829

Wood, Chief Judge.

James Batson walked up to Live Nation's box office at the Charter One Pavilion in Chicago and purchased a non-refundable ticket to see O.A.R., a popular American rock band. Ticket in hand, he realized that the ticket price included a $9 parking fee for a spot he did not want. Believing that the bundled $9 fee was fundamentally unfair, he sued on behalf of himself and a proposed class.

I

Batson's original complaint alleged claims under federal antitrust and California unfair competition law. When Live Nation moved to dismiss that action, Batson responded with an amended complaint, which the district court accepted. The amended complaint dropped the federal antitrust and California unfair competition theories. Relying on the jurisdiction supplied by the Class Action Fairness Act, 28 U.S.C. § 1332(d)(1), Batson substituted a single claim that Live Nation had committed an unfair practice in violation of the Illinois Consumer Fraud and Deceptive Business Practices Act (Consumer Fraud Act or Act), 815 ILCS 505/2. (Batson is a citizen of New York; each of the defendant corporations is incorporated in Delaware and has its principal place of business in California.) The amended complaint criticizes the 2010 merger between Live Nation and Ticketmaster (a transaction that was not blocked by the Department of Justice), but its primary target is Live Nation's tying of a parking charge to each concert ticket. Batson insists that the mandatory parking fee is unfair under the Consumer Fraud Act because it forces consumers to purchase the parking or forego the concert. Live Nation again moved to dismiss, arguing this time that Batson failed to state a claim under the Consumer Fraud Act under the standards set out by the Supreme Court of Illinois in Robinson v. Toyota Motor Credit Corp., 201 Ill.2d 403, 775 N.E.2d 951, 266 Ill.Dec. 879 (Ill. 2002). The district court agreed and dismissed, and Batson now appeals. We affirm.

II

The facts underlying Batson's complaint are straightforward. On July 10, 2010, Batson purchased a ticket for a concert by O.A.R. ...


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