A Superior Court Judge is allowing a defamation lawsuit filed by TicketNetwork, a ticket exchange company, against The Bushnell and its president to move forward despite claims of immunity.
Court documents show that lawyers for Bushnell President and CEO David Fay believe he’s immune from defamation because he made his comments at a legislative hearing, but Judge Richard Rittenbrand decided that could only be used as a special defense.
“Although the claim of immunity for statements made before a legislative hearing may have merit, it does not implicate the Court’s jurisdiction and is more properly a special defense,” Rittenbrand wrote in his ruling. “More importantly, Mr. Fay’s affidavit states that he recounted his testimony to a reporter from the Journal Inquirer, and immunity does not attach to an interview with a newspaper. At the very least what he said, if anything is an issue of fact.”
Fay testified that TicketNetwork’s CEO Donald Vaccaro uses his computer system to put a hold on tickets, then buys up 30 percent of the inventory, weeds through it and then charges more money for the ticket than its face value, according to the complaint filed in April.
TicketNetwork says Fay’s remarks were “false, because TicketNetwork functions as an electronic marketplace for the selling of tickets by those who have tickets, and TicketNetwork does not itself buy tickets, or put tickets on hold, or raise the re-sale price on tickets.”
In the original complaint, TicketNetwork claims that Fay made “further false statements” about it in an interview with the Journal Inquirer newspaper.
Fay’s lawyers argue he did not make any further remarks to the newspaper and that the portions of the article quoted by TicketNetwork in the complaint were not his actual quotes, but the paraphrasing used by the reporter.
“What the complaint quotes is the reporter’s characterization of Mr. Fay’s testimony,” attorney Joseph Musco wrote in his reply to the court this August. He said no new information or statement was made to the reporter.
TicketNetwork is claiming the denial of the motion to dismiss as a victory. The Bushnell was unable to be reached for comment.
“We are pleased with the judge’s decision as this is the victory for the public,” Vaccaro said in a press release. “The outcome of this case demonstrates that truth outweighs fabrication of information in the court of law.“
The bill which would change how ticket companies operate was abandoned by the legislature’s General Law Committee after the lawsuit was filed.