Judge declines to make Fyre Festival ticket-holder case a class action

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By | Published on Friday 4 December 2020

Fyre Festival

A judge has declined to issue a default judgement in favour of one of the first ticket-holders to go legal over the 2017 Fyre Festival. He also declined to give that legal action class action status, so that any positive judgement could be relied upon by everyone who bought a ticket to the doomed event.

Daniel Jung sued Fyre Festival and its founder Billy McFarland pretty much as soon as the infamous festival collapsed at the end of April 2017.

We all know the story well, of course, McFarland promised a luxury festival experience in the Bahamas, failed to put in place the infrastructure for even a basic event, the whole thing was called off just as people were arriving, and McFarland himself ended up in jail for defrauding his investors. Then there were two documentaries and an incredibly boring podcast.

Jung was one of various ticket-holders who sued the Fyre Festival company and McFarland, seeking compensation for monies spent on tickets, travel and accommodation. Despite his prompt filing, Jung’s litigation has been slowly working its way through the legal system ever since.

He wanted class action status for his lawsuit and a default judgement in his favour. But judge P Kevin Castle declined both in a ruling this week.

The judge raised various issues with the application for class action status. First, Jung actually lives in the Netherlands, and the judge wasn’t convinced he could “adequately monitor and direct counsel” on behalf of the potential class, ie all Fyre ticket-holders.

Secondly, the case centres on the allegation that ticket-holders were misled by marketing and communications put out by McFarland’s company. But it wasn’t clear every class member was influenced by the same marketing and communication in the same way.

“Jung has not revealed which statements he heard or saw, when he heard or saw them or when he acted in detrimental reliance by purchasing tickets to the festival or expending money on travel”, the judge wrote in his ruling.

“With ticket purchasers relying on different statements made over an extended period of time, by several different actors, Jung has not shown that his claims are typical of those that would be made by absent members of the would-be class”.

Jung’s various legal arguments against the Fyre company and McFarland also fail to justify a default judgement in his favour, Castle added, although the judge confirmed he would now “conduct an evidentiary hearing on the issues outlined herein”.



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