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Don't Sue, Just Get Beijing Olympics Tickets

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Boulder, COAttorney Jim Moriarty is an amateur athlete and owns a home in Boulder, Colorado—a favorite spot for athletes training for Olympic events. A successful lawyer and fan of Olympic sports and ideals, he put some money into sponsoring an American long distance running team that would be going to Beijing. He also decided he would like to be in the stands at the historic opening of the games in August 2008.

He was having a difficult time buying tickets through the Olympic Committee website. "The site kept crashing and he couldn't the complete the purchase," says one of his law partners, Kevin Leyendecker from the firm's Boulder office.

Eventually, Moriarty found another site where he could buy tickets online. It carried the official Olympic Logo, and accepted major credit cards. The $1200 transaction for the tickets to the Opening and Closing ceremonies, and a few other events, went smooth as silk.

When the tickets did not arrive, Moriarty followed up by phone. "The tickets will be there next Wednesday," he was told. Then Thursday came, and there were still no tickets."Then no one at BeijingTickets.com was answering the phone anymore," says Moriarty's friend and partner Kevin Leyendecker.

"They went radio silent," quips Leyendecker.

Like thousands of other people, Moriarty had put his plan in motion months ago. He was looking forward to attending one of the most intriguing Olympic Games in history, and watching proudly as the team he helped sponsor marched into the stadium.

However, those tickets he thought he had purchased never did arrive. The firm's lawyers figured there were many, many others who had been taken in by a fake logo and dodgy website.

The firm of Moriarty, Leyendecker & Erben quickly set up another website, looking for people who had purchased tickets through BeijingTickets.com. In just a few days, they received hundreds and hundreds of emails from Houston to Beijing.

"People who had plans, who have children or family members, or people they sponsored in the games, they are hanging out on a limb," says Leyendecker.

It actually gets worse.

Moriarty and Leyendecker began to learn more about China's rules for buying and selling Olympic tickets. According to the rules, Olympic tickets can only be sold once. Any subsequent sale must be registered with the authorities. It is likely to prevent scalping, but in this case, some good old-fashioned scalping might have been more efficient.

"You may have people who have legitimate tickets, who may have bought them a second time from a reseller, but if the ticket seller didn't do the paper work, your ticket could be denied at the gate," says Leyendecker.

Kevin Leyendecker knows only too well what kind of legal action is available to burned ticket buyers. The Beijing Olympic Committee has an obligation to protect their trademark for precisely these kinds of reasons. Normally, Olympic trademarks are jealously guarded.

"If this was some guy selling T-Shirts in Beijing with a fake logo, they'd be on him like a chicken on a June bug," says Leyendecker.

Despite the fact that the Chinese are notorious for their surveillance of the Internet and its infinite number of websites, this one apparently slipped the Party's watchful eye.

All that Moriarty, Leyendecker and the other members of the firm want is to see that people are not disappointed. They are reaching out to people through their website and are using their lawyerly skills to try to reach out to the Chinese.

"Jim Moriarty has tried to speak to credit card companies, he's reached out to Olympic Committee lawyers in the states," says Leyendecker, "and efforts are being made to reach out to the committee in China."

This is all pro bono work. The firm doesn't really want to start a lawsuit, it just
wants to see the situation put right.

"We just want to figure out how to help those people who thought they had tickets to the Olympics so they can see their family and friends. That would be just the cat's meow as far as we are concerned," says Leyendecker.

So far, Leyendecker admits, it is difficult to get anyone's attention.

"It is like cold tar," he says, "when your feet stick in cold tar."

Kevin Leydenbecker is a graduate of the University of Texas, where he earned both a Bachelor's in Business Administration and his law degree. In 1992 he joined the law firm of James Moriarty, where he has been involved in successful litigation against some of the largest corporations in the U.S. James Moriarty is nationally known for his work in mass torts, cases in which he represents large numbers of individuals going against big corporations and businesses. A decorated veteran, Mr. Moriarty served three tours of duty in Vietnam for the U.S. Marines. Visit their olympics ticket scam website

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