US court reverses decision to dismiss lawsuit against Coachella’s restrictive radius booking clause

The clause in question prevents Coachella-booked artists from performing at other North American festivals between December 15 and May 1

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has reversed the decision by a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed against the organisers of Coachella over their alleged violation of anti-trust law through the restrictive radius clause it places in its artist contracts.

Originally filed in April 2018, Oregon-based promoter Soul’d Out Productions’ lawsuit against Coachella promoters Goldenvoice alleged that Coachella’s radius clause constituted “tortious interference and unlawful competition”.

Soul’d Out claimed in the suit that artists such as SZA and Daniel Caesar had been forced to turn down their festival due to the radius clause in their Coachella contract, which stipulates that artists who are booked to play at Coachella cannot play at any other North American festival between December 15 and May 1.

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Coachella
Coachella 2019 (Picture: Getty)

Soul’d Out’s suit was dismissed by U.S. District Court Judge Michael Mosman in March 2019. Mosman ruled that Goldenvoice had made no anti-trust injury against Soul’d Out as a result of the radius clause, and dismissed the case on lack of standing.

Pitchfork reports that a three-judge appellate panel overturned Mosman’s verdict yesterday (May 12), concluding that the judge had erred in his decision to dismiss Soul’d Out’s lawsuit.

The panel found that Soul’d Out satisfied requirements for standing, noting that “an injured party may assert tort claims predicated on a contract’s alleged invalidity, despite not being a party to the contract.”

This means that Soul’d Out can move forward again with their suit, which is expected to be re-filed at the District Court within the next 14 days.

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Coachella 2020 is set to be held on October 9-11 and 16-18 after its original April dates were scrapped due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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