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The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week upheld a lower court’s decision to toss Tickets.com Inc.’s antitrust suit against Ticketmaster Corp. In an unpublished opinion, a three-judge panel concluded that there was no evidence that Ticketmaster’s contracts with venues blocked competition. “Six years is about as long as the average duration of Ticketmaster’s venue contracts,” the three-judge panel wrote. “Tickets.com has not shown that contract length is inherently unreasonable or that competitive entry is unduly difficult.” Tickets.com’s attorney, Alfred Pfeiffer Jr., a partner at Bingham McCutchen, said his client is considering further appellate options, including a petition for an en banc hearing and potentially a Supreme Court review. Pfeiffer said damages from the suit “would have presumably been in the hundreds of millions.” A Tickets.com victory also would have brought an influx of cash to the bankrupt estate of law firm Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. Prior to its dissolution in 2003, Brobeck had represented Tickets.com in the litigation. In settling a fee dispute with Brobeck, Tickets.com agreed to pay the firm’s estate $500,000 in cash and up to 37 percent of any recovery from the Ticketmaster litigation. “In the big picture, it’s unfortunate for both sides” — Tickets.com and Brobeck’s trustee — said Guy Calladine of Carlson, Calladine & Peterson, who represented Tickets.com in settlement negotiations with the trustee. But he said if the court’s ruling had come before the two signed a deal, “We probably would have been in a good position” to argue against paying any fees to Brobeck, since Tickets.com won nothing from its competitor.

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