Several lawsuits have been filed in court against musician Travis Scott, the entertainment company Live Nation, and other organizers, but it is unclear whether the lawsuits will remain in a public court due to arbitration clauses in the fine print. If someone purchased a ticket through Live Nation’s website, the ticket purchaser is likely bound to arbitrate disputes with Live Nation because of the Terms of Service governing the website. 

The procedural protections available in arbitration are limited compared to court procedures. For example, the injured victims or their survivors who are stuck in arbitration generally have no automatic rights to engage in broad discovery, such as by taking depositions of key players involved in organizing or managing the concert, or by requesting access to documents, emails, or videos related to the horrific event. In court, the victims or their survivors would generally be entitled to broad discovery of all relevant evidence, but in arbitration, it can be more difficult to gather evidence of wrongdoing. 

Furthermore, the decision of the arbitrator is generally final and binding, even if the arbitrator makes serious errors, while an erroneous court decision is typically subject to appellate review.  Also, arbitration is limited to an individual’s claim, and collective or class proceedings are not allowed. However, court proceedings generally provide for class actions.    

Congress is currently considering the proper scope and role of arbitration in our society. For example, there are pending bills to curtail the use of forced arbitration for workplace disputes, sexual assault claims or claims involving nursing homes. An overhaul of our almost one-hundred-year-old Federal Arbitration Act is long overdue, and it is time for America’s courts to play a stronger role in administering justice. 

This blog is intended to provide information to the general public and to practitioners about developments that may impact Oregon class actions.

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