Washington Examiner cites Anna St. John’s piece on a class action suit involving the Metropolitan Museum of Art and how similar suits can harm cultural institutions.
Cultural institutions harmed by lawsuits
Anna St. John for the Competitive Enterprise Institute: A New York trial court recently approved a class-action settlement in a case filed against the Metropolitan Museum of Art based on its allegedly deceptive admissions policy. The settlement requires the Met to implement meaningless changes such as referring to its admission price as “suggested” rather than “recommended” in its signs and ticket kiosks. It also requires the Met to pay $350,000 in attorneys’ fees to the plaintiffs’ lawyers who filed the case.
The Met’s admission policy is at the heart of the litigation. The Met has long had a “recommended” price of admission but allows visitors to pay only as much as they wish before granting them entrance to the exhibit halls. This policy dates to the Met’s lease with the city of New York and a 1893 law requiring the museum to admit for free all members of the general public on multiple days each week. The Met, in turn, was given free use of its building and land in Central Park as well as additional funding and expense payments by New York. The lawsuit set its sights on the way in which the Met communicated this policy to the public, claiming that the Met tried to trick visitors into believing that the “recommended” price was mandatory, even though multiple signs at the museum stated that it was simply recommended.
While it’s easy to shake one’s head at yet another example of plaintiffs’ lawyers turning the legal system into a personal piggybank, this lawsuit and others like it do real harm to our nations’ cultural institutions.
Read the full article at Washington Examiner.