BALTIMORE, Nov. 22 LAWFUEL – Law News, Law Jobs Network — Sinclair Broadcast Group,
Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI) commented on the Federal Court for the Southern
District of Iowa’s decision not to stay proceedings with respect to the
Mediacom Communications Corp.’s (Nasdaq: MCCC) appeal. Mediacom is
appealing to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in order to have the right to continue to carry the signals of Sinclair’s television stations after Mediacom’s contractual right to do so terminates on December 1, 2006. Based on the Eighth Circuit’s scheduling order, which contemplates briefs being filed as late as January 24, 2007, it appears Mediacom’s request for an injunction will not be decided prior to the anticipated December 1, 2006 removal of the Sinclair stations from the Mediacom systems.
Barry Faber, Sinclair’s General Counsel, noted that the decision by the District Court reflects nothing more than an ordinary course procedural
aspect of the case. “The decision does not in any way reflect on the merits of the case,” commented Mr. Faber, “but instead merely indicates the
court’s conclusion that the underlying claim by Mediacom can continue while the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals considers the appeal by Mediacom of the District Court’s decision not to grant a preliminary injunction sought by
The sole effect of yesterday’s judicial decision is to set the date by which Sinclair is required to file an answer to the complaint filed by
Mediacom. “In my opinion,” continued Mr. Faber, “the suggestion by Mediacom that this routine procedural decision by the District Court somehow
reflects favorably on the merits of Mediacom’s claim indicates either an
intentional effort to mislead the public about the status of the
litigation, a fundamental misunderstanding of the judicial process or a
failure to have read the denial of Mediacom’s motion.” In that denial, the District Court noted its conclusion for purposes of that motion that
“Mediacom is unlikely to succeed on the merits of its antitrust claim.”
On October 24, 2006, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Iowa denied the motion of Mediacom seeking a preliminary injunction to allow Mediacom to continue to carry television stations owned and/or programmed by Sinclair after Mediacom’s contractual right to do so
terminates. As a result of the Court’s decision, the retransmission consent agreement pursuant to which over eight hundred thousand subscribers of
Mediacom’s cable service receive twenty-two (22) television stations owned and/or programmed by Sinclair remains scheduled to terminate on November
In denying Mediacom’s motion, the Federal Court found in favor of
Sinclair on every single factor considered as part of the injunction sought by Mediacom. Most significantly, the court concluded that Mediacom is “unlikely to succeed on the merits of its antitrust claim” against Sinclair. In reaching this conclusion the judge determined that Mediacom had not proved even one of the factors necessary to be successful in its antitrust claim.
This event only impacts Mediacom subscribers. Alternative methods are
available to receive the impacted stations’ signals via over-the-air
reception or by subscribing to an alternative video service provider, such
as satellite. In addition, Sinclair remains willing to negotiate with
Mediacom regarding the right to continue to carry our stations’ signals.
Although Sinclair continues to regret any inconvenience caused to its
viewers, Sinclair does not believe it is fair for Mediacom to refuse to pay for programming which it uses to attract and retain fee-paying subscribers.
The stations and markets impacted are:
Des Moines/Ames (KDSM-FOX), Cedar Rapids (KGAN-CBS), Mobile-Pensacola
(WEAR-ABC/WFGX-MNT), Peoria/Bloomington (WYZZ-FOX),
Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville (WLOS-ABC/WMYA-MNT), Lexington (WDKY-FOX),
Madison (WSMN-FOX), Nashville (WZTV-FOX/ WUXP-MNT/WNAB-CW), Minneapolis
(WUCW- CW), Paducah/Cape Girardeau (KBSI-FOX/WDKA-MNT),
Springfield/Champaign/Decatur (WICS-ABC/WICD-ABC), St. Louis (KDNL-ABC),
Tallahassee (WTWC-NBC), Birmingham (WTTO-CW/WABM-MNT), Norfolk (WTVZ-MNT)
and Milwaukee (WCGV-MNT/WVTV-CW).
Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc., one of the largest and most diversified
television broadcasting companies, currently owns and operates, programs or
provides sales services to 58 television stations in 36 markets. Sinclair’s
television group reaches approximately 22% of U.S. television households
and is affiliated with all the major networks.