Friday, September 4, 2009

Summary Judgment Denied in Valassis’ Federal Case Against News America

A federal judge in Michigan denied Valassis' motion for partial summary judgment today. Although Valassis submitted a supplemental brief with some powerful evidence from the recent state court trial, the court found that the recent state court verdict did not have a preclusive effect. Similarly, the court denied News America's motion for summary judgment:


Before the court are defendants' motion for summary judgment and plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment. The court received supplemental briefing. The motions came on for a hearing on September 3, 2009.

For the reasons stated on the record, the motions are DENIED. The state-court trial before Judge Sapala does not have issue-preclusive effect on the proceedings before this court. Accordingly, there are genuine issues of material fact for a jury to consider.
. . . .

With the denial of the summary judgment motions (neither of which is surprising), I would expect that trial will commence in the next few months. After News America lost the first trial on unfair competition, and given the evidence presented in that case, they have reason to be
concerned about the federal case, which involves antitrust claims that would lead to treble damages.

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