Benched: Fans Settle Suit Against NJ Devils for Restricting Season Ticket Resale
On Friday, June 10, 2016, U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi issued an order dismissing the New Jersey Devils’ ticket resale case without costs (Olsen et al v. New Jersey Devils, LLC., 2:15-cv-02807). The dismissal comes after parties reported that an agreement had been reached, settling the proposed class action suit. The suit stemmed from plaintiffs’ claim that their 2013-2014 season tickets were canceled after attempting to resell tickets on StubHub.
In April 2015, two Devils fans, Ray Olsen and Alex Olsen, filed a class action lawsuit against the team, alleging that the team restricts season ticket holders’ ticket resale options. According to court documents, the Devils organization only allows season ticket holders to resell individual tickets exclusively through its designated reseller, the NHL Ticket Exchange. If a season ticket holder chooses to sell season tickets through a different ticket marketplace, such as StubHub, the team cancels the season tickets or charges extra fees.
The initial complaint alleged that the team’s ticket resale policy violates New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act, as well as Truth-in-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (TCCWNA). If able to prove a TCCWNA violation, the act explicitly protects ticket holders’ rights to sell their tickets without restrictions.
The Devils organization denies the allegations that it has restricted fans from reselling their tickets or limited the price of the resale, arguing that it has not violated any New Jersey consumer protection laws. In addition, the team states that it reserved the right to revoke a season ticket license. The team, however, maintains that it never revoked the fans’ season tickets, but did not offer plaintiffs the option to repurchase their season tickets for the 2014-2015 season. According to the team, failing to offer renewal did not constitute a “cancellation or termination.”
The plaintiffs contend that in an effort to boost attendance, the team’s policy encouraged season ticket holders to resell games that would otherwise have gone unused. Additionally, plaintiffs point to the team’s support for an “official” resale website as an indicator that the team prefers game tickets to be resold, as opposed to allowing seats to remain empty.
The settlement comes after a mediator was appointed to the case in April. At the time of settlement, terms of the agreement were not disclosed.