In the latest round of the long back-and-forth between Ozzy Osbourne and AEG over the latter’s block-booking policy, lawyers for the rocker have called the company’s motion to dismiss his anti-trust claims “baseless on the facts and the law alike,” according to legal documents obtained by Variety. The news was first reported by Amplify.
Last month, attorneys for AEG filed a motion to dismiss Ozzy Osbourne’s anti-trust lawsuit challenging the promoter’s block-booking policy, which requires artists playing the London’s O2 Arena to also play Staples Center in Los Angeles — and which AEG claims is in response to a similar policy around the Forum and Madison Square Garden. AEG lawyer Paul Salvaty said Osbourne doesn’t have legal standing to sue the company over the Staples Center commitment letter at the center of this latest round of the battle because the singer did not sign the agreement, which Salvaty claims is actually between AEG and rival promoter Live Nation. The commitment letter was publicized with no shortage of outrage by Osbourne’s wife and longtime manager, Sharon.
In a rebuttal to the motion to dismiss, Dan Wall, a lawyer for Osbourne, wrote that “Factually, AEG misrepresents its own practices with respect to the tying requirement it enforces. The formal venue hire agreement for the O2 referenced in the Staples Center Commitment unambiguously requires the promoter to ensure that the artist plays Staples when in Los Angeles.” He adds that no matter who signs the document, the block-booking policy binds the artist to perform.
“Ozzy is threatened with a causal antitrust injury because he was forced to agree to the Staples Center Commitment to book the O2,” the rebuttal says, “which means he is no longer free to book the Los Angeles venue of his choice.”
It also reasserts the anti-competitive claims regarding AEG’s block-booking policy of the O2 in London, a city that has no other venue of comparable size. “The point of this lawsuit is that AEG has market power in London, which it uses ‘to distort freedom of trade and competition’ in Los Angeles.’”