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NJ Devils Argue Fans Have No Automatic Right To Renewal

According to legal documents, a New Jersey Federal Court denied the New Jersey Devils’ motion July 30, 2015 to dismiss a putative class action suit by plaintiffs Rey and Alex Olsen (OLSEN et al v. NEW JERSEY DEVILS, LLC.).

According to Law360, the New Jersey Devils attorneys argued that fans do not have an automatic right to renewal of season tickets in the first place:

The Devils said they had reserved the right to revoke a season ticket license and did not state anywhere that they offered season ticket holders an “automatic right to renewal.”

Both Devils season ticket holders from 2011-14, Rey and Alex Olsen filed a complaint against the franchise in April, claiming they were restricted from selling tickets within their 40-game package on the secondary market.

Here are the actual PDF documents on the case itself:

Rey & Alex Olsen’s Initial Lawsuit – Click here
NJ Devil’s Response To Olsen Lawsuit – Click here
NJ Devil’s Motion To Dismiss – Click here
Rey & Alex Olsen’s Amended Lawsuit – Click here

More according the Law360:

(The Olsens) claimed the team violated the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act and the Truth-in-Consumer Contract Warranty and Notice Act by imposing extracontractual fees on season-ticket holders, refusing to renew season-ticket subscriptions for holders who sell their tickets on the secondary market and limits printing of tickets, which makes it difficult to resell them.

In their amended complaint filed on Friday, however, the Olsens dropped the TCCWNA claim and instead brought claims of breach of contract, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing and a violation of the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.

In their motion to file the amended complaint, the plaintiffs said the breach of contract allegations did not prejudice the defendant, since the Devils raised the issue about a breach of contract in their motion to dismiss.

They also said they offered multiple ways for season ticket holders to sell or transfer tickets they could not use, including selling them on the NHL Ticket Exchange, forwarding the tickets to family or friends and selling by other means like Stubhub.com, where the plaintiffs sold their tickets, and even allowed ticketholders to set their own price when selling on the Ticket Exchange.

The Devils, however, did not dispute that they did not offer the plaintiffs the opportunity to purchase season tickets for the 2014-15 season in the same seats they had the previous year, but said the action did not constitute a “cancellation or termination.”

While everyone focuses on the StubHub-Golden State Warriors lawsuit, the New Jersey Devils legal wranglings are the one to watch. These are season ticket holders, reselling their tickets (admittedly) to support a financial aid in order to continue to make a 40-game commitment.

That leaves, a few questions that may be asked of the New Jersey Devils in this lawsuit:

  • If the New Jersey Devils claim in court that it is not an automatic right to renewal for season tickets, are they able to make that claim in their marketing materials at all?

  • If the New Jersey Devils work with a consolidating partner or several ticket brokers, yet are denying seats to be renewed by season tickets holders, aren’t they in danger of collusion?

  • If the New Jersey Devils decide to use the “revocable license” argument of a ticket, then how it is only revocable to the business, but not the season ticket holder? If a season ticket holder cannot attend games, they lose out. But if the team wishes to, they can revoke the ticket, despite it already being paid for by the season ticket holder, entirely?

All of this may finally decide a very major question: Who exactly owns the ticket???

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1 Comment

  1. billy barty
    August 10, 2015 at 6:35 am — Reply

    This lawsuit is being brought by a ticket broker agency trying to protect the rights of fans and brokers who are people too. this lawsuit should be taken very seriously as it will have implications to fans and resellers alike for years to come along with the golden state warriors lawsuit as well.

    the devils make no sense in trying to not renew tickets in the 1st place. their sales are awful and alienting the fan base isnt the way to win fans over with new ownership in place. i hope the fans win this case and force the devils to play ball and be fair to everyone.

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