Ozzy Osbourne Dismisses AEG Lawsuit After Company Drops Block Booking Policy
The battle between Ozzy Osbourne and entertainment presenters AEG has reached its conclusion, with the rocker's legal team agreeing to drop their action against AEG after the company officials announced plans to end their block booking policy. The conflict initially arose when Osbourne wanted to play the O2 Arena in London but in order to do so, he was being required to play the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
According to Billboard, Osbourne's lawyer Dan Wall filed a stipulation to dismiss the case on Friday (Sept. 21), and the case was dismissed with prejudice, meaning that the singer may not refile the suit.
Osbourne and his wife Sharon had alleged that in return for placing a hold on the O2 Arena, there was a requirement that tour promoter Live Nation sign the Staples Center commitment letter to play the AEG-owned venue if they were to schedule an indoor Los Angeles show. Feeling this move negatively affected Osbourne's opportunities in Los Angeles, the musician filed suit.
In August, the judge in the case denied AEG's motion to dismiss the case stating, "Because Ozzy’s only reasonable choice of venue in London is the O2 Arena, he is explicitly coerced by a contract that says he must play the Staples Center,” also adding, "Ozzy personally suffers damage in a fairly direct and non-speculative way by not being able to play in his preferred venues.”
However, AEG revealed that they had enacted the policy to counter a similar measure they allege had been happening with Azoff MSG Entertainment in which they allege artists were being pressured to play The Forum in Los Angeles in return for playing New York's Madison Square Garden. While AEG dropped their block booking policy, the revealed in a statement that they would only enact the policy if they believed artists were being pressured to play the Forum.
"Sharon and Ozzy are pleased, there is nothing left to litigate," Dan Wall told Billboard.
AEG also issued a statement to Billboard viewing the case dismissal as a victory. "This dismissal with prejudice is a victory for AEG. We were fully prepared to see the case through to vindicate our policy, but now that Osbourne has decided to dismiss with prejudice, the case is over," stated the entertainment company. "Our policy was an appropriate, lawful and effective competitive response to Irving Azoff’s pressure tactics seeking to force artists into the Forum. If those tactics resurface, we will redeploy our policy as needed."
They continue, "The Osbourne suit was instigated by Azoff and paid for by MSG and Live Nation. It was hatched on the back of an artist who we believe had no idea what he was biting off. The suit was a transparent public relations ploy that failed to pressure AEG into backing down from a booking policy that was an effective competitive response to the MSG-Forum tie."
The statement concludes, "It is no surprise that once AEG refused to back down, Azoff, MSG and Live Nation became eager to drop the case as soon as possible. They dismissed the case with prejudice after realizing AEG would aggressively defend it, costing them tens of millions of dollars and posing a source of embarrassment once their questionable tactics were exposed in the course of discovery and trial."
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