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$800m for Route 91 Harvest victims

Survivors of the 2017 Route 91 Harvest massacre and their families will receive a collective pay-out of US$800 million, a US court has confirmed.

Hotel operator MGM Resorts International, whose Las Vegas Mandalay Bay hotel was the site of the shooting, agreed a settlement with victims last October, with the amount of compensation estimated at $735–800m depending on the amount of the claimants.

In her court order, Clark County, Nevada, judge Linda Bell said there was “near-unanimous participation in the settlement among potential claimants”, with a total of 4,400 claimants, according to the Associated Press, nudging the settlement towards the maximum $800m figure.

“We are grateful that the decision brings families, victims and the community closer to closure”

MGM acknowledges no liability for the attack, and will pay $49m of the settlement, compared to $751m from its insurance companies, reports AP.

Fifty-eight people were killed and a further 422 injured when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on Route 91 Harvest, a Live Nation-promoted open-air country music festival, from 32nd floor of the MGM Mandalay Bay on 1 October 2017.

The attack – the deadliest mass shooting in US history – also caused a mass panic that left another 800 festivalgoers injured.

“We are grateful that the decision brings families, victims and the community closer to closure,” says MGM in a statement.

 


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Eventbrite investors settle lawsuit over shares drop

Aggrieved Eventbrite investors have agreed to settle a lawsuit they filed against the ticketing company, given the current issues facing the live entertainment sector due to Covid-19.

Last year, the shareholders alleged that the company made misleading statements at the time of the company’s initial public offering (IPO) in September 2018, following the impact of the Ticketfly integration and subsequent decline in Eventbrite stock.

The lawsuit alleged that Eventbrite misled potential buyers in its IPO registration statement which declared that the acquisition of ticketing platform Ticketfly “had a positive impact” on net revenue growth” in the third quarter of 2017.

The claimants also stated that the company failed to disclose that, at the time of IPO, the Ticketfly migration was progressing more slowly than stated, therefore delaying integration and negatively impacting growth.

The claimants purchased Eventbrite stock in the company’s IPO at US$23 a share which started declining on 7 March 2019, upon the release of Eventbrite’s annual financial results and the admission that the Ticketfly integration “will impact revenues in the short-term”. The share price continued to drop.

“With the company’s future uncertain, the prospect that settlement class members would recover anything looked dim”

The investors filed for damages with a class-action lawsuit but have recently negotiated a $1.9 million settlement, noting that the challenges faced by Eventbrite as a result of Covid-19 reduced the prospect of a better pay-out down the line, according to Law360.

They also noted that similar litigation against Eventbrite in the Californian state courts had also been dismissed, reducing chances of winning the lawsuit.

Their legal counsel told the judge: “Dimming the prospects of any recovery, during litigation, the world was struck by the worst pandemic it suffered since 1918 – particularly bad news for a company whose business is helping customers plan live events”.

“With claims against Eventbrite dismissed in state and federal court”, they went on, “and the company’s future uncertain, the prospect that settlement class members would recover anything looked dim. Yet, lead counsel nonetheless were able to negotiate the $1.9 million settlement”.

And while a lower sum than originally hoped, that cash “will nonetheless prove meaningful for settlement class members”.

Eventbrite recently released its earnings report for the second fiscal quarter of 2020, with net revenue for the period dropping more than 90%.  The report also revealed that the company’s net revenue was just $8.4 million for the quarter, down from $80.8 million in Q2 2019.

For the same period, Eventbrite chalked up a $38.6 million net loss, up sharply from the $14.8 million loss from the previous year. Eventbrite also reported that their advanced payout balance is now $244 million, reduced by $111 million since March.

 


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Sofar Sounds to pay $460,000 to unpaid workers

Sofar Sounds will distribute more than US$460,000 among people who worked its concerts for free between 2016 and 2019, after agreeing a settlement with New York state’s Department of Labor.

The department opened an investigation into Sofar – which promotes ‘secret gigs’ in living rooms and other intimate, non-traditional concert venues – last September, amid concerns it violated local laws by using volunteers to staff its events.

New York labour standards dictate that a person may generally only do unpaid work only for non-profit organisations, with exemptions for certain “short-term recreational or amusement event[s]”. Virgin-backed Sofar is a for-profit company, and raised a further $25 million last May.

Sofar Sounds raises $25m…but are artists being short-changed?

A Department of Labor spokesperson tells Variety that Sofar now uses only paid employees, or ‘ambassadors’ for its shows. “The settlement came in the wake of a Department of Labor investigation which revealed that 654 Sofar Sounds ‘ambassadors’ were never compensated for work performed at SoFar events between 2016 and 2019,” they say.

“When the Department of Labor opened its investigation, Sofar cooperated fully and immediately changed its business model. Sofar now staffs all its events with paid employees. The company also agreed to immediately compensate ambassadors who provided any unpaid work.”

“Sofar now staffs all its events with paid employees”

Founded in London in 2009, Sofar Sounds is active in some 450 cities worldwide, including London, Paris, New York, Los Angeles, Sydney, Buenos Aires and Seoul. It has hosted over 20,000 shows over the past decade, including early performances by Billie Eilish, Bastille, Leon Bridges and Hozier.

“Today’s agreement with the New York State Department of Labor stipulates no admission of guilt or wrongdoing and confirms our operating model is fully compliant with New York state law,” reads a statement from Sofar Sounds. “We thank them for working collaboratively with us in New York, Sofar’s biggest US market.

“We are excited about resolving these issues and moving forward in 2020, with a continued focus on connecting local and independent musicians with passionate music fans.”

 


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