Constitutional Law

Los Angeles Deploys Unusual Weapon on Ticket Scalpers, Seeks Injunction Banning Them From Stadiums

In recent years, government officials in California and elsewhere have increasingly turned to court injunctions to try to keep known gang members from running the streets.

Now the same legal weapon is being deployed on significantly smaller fry—ticket scalpers.

In a court filing this week, Los Angeles City Attorney Carmen Trutanich asked a state court judge to bar 17 individuals alleged to be prolific resellers of tickets from the venues where major sporting events are held, the Los Angeles Times reports.

USA Today’s On Deadline page provides a link to the complaint (PDF), which was filed Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court.

If the injunction is granted, the city would be able to impose enhanced penalties on those who violate it.

It is a misdemeanor to resell tickets at a higher price or on public sidewalks, according to the newspaper. Pointing to legal research showing that railroads successfully sought injunctive relief a century or so ago to prevent train tickets from being sold by individuals at a profit, the city’s lawyers argue that aggressive ticket scalping intimidates patrons at sporting events, obstructs traffic and leads to accidents.

Not everyone agrees that the problem is severe enough to warrant a court-ordered solution of this magnitude.

“The problem here is they are trying to criminalize activities that would not otherwise be deemed harmful to people,” said Jody Armour, a law professor at the University of Southern California. “These people aren’t committing violent crimes. … How can it be in the public’s interest to make it harder for them to find tickets?”

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