Quantcast

Judge Denies News America’s Post-Trial Motions in Wayne County Case

December 1, 2009

LIVONIA, Mich., Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Valassis (NYSE: VCI), one of the nation’s leading media and marketing services companies, announced today that the Honorable Michael F. Sapala of Michigan’s Wayne County Circuit Court has denied the post-trial motions made by News America (News), a division of News Corp., for a new trial and judgment notwithstanding the verdict with respect to the July 2009 trial. This ruling leaves intact the jury award of $300 million to Valassis for compensatory damages. In the trial, Valassis claimed unfair competition and tortious interference by News. The jury’s unanimous verdict found News liable for both counts.

In his opinion, in addition to finding ample evidence in the record to support Valassis’ claim of unfair competition, Judge Sapala noted, “With regard to plaintiff’s claim of tortious interference, there is sufficient record evidence to support the jury’s verdict particularly with regard to defendant’s deceptive, fraudulent and unethical behavior.”

“We are pleased with Judge Sapala’s opinion, and we look forward to moving ahead with our two remaining cases against News,” said Todd L. Wiseley, Valassis General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Administration.

As previously announced, United States District Court Judge Arthur J. Tarnow formally scheduled Valassis’ federal trial against News for Feb. 2, 2010. Valassis originally filed the action in the United States District Court, Eastern District of Michigan on Jan. 18, 2006 alleging violations of the Sherman Act. Generally, the complaint alleges that News has improperly leveraged and tied the purchase of its in-store promotion and advertising services to the purchase of space in its free-standing insert (FSI) and that News has attempted to monopolize the FSI market. In September 2009, Judge Tarnow denied all motions for summary judgment and established the trial schedule.

In addition to the Federal antitrust law claims, Valassis has a lawsuit pending against News in the Supreme Court of the State of California for the County of Los Angeles raising claims under California’s Cartwright, Unfair Competition and Unfair Practices Acts. This case is not currently scheduled for trial. Under the relevant Federal and California laws, any compensatory damages awarded in either of the remaining cases will be automatically tripled by the respective court.

News has publicly indicated that they plan to appeal the Wayne County verdict to the Michigan Court of Appeals.

For more information regarding these lawsuits, see Valassis’ most recently filed Form 10-Q.

About Valassis

Valassis is one of the nation’s leading media and marketing services companies, offering unparalleled reach and scale to more than 15,000 advertisers. Its RedPlum media portfolio delivers value on a weekly basis to over 100 million shoppers across a multi-media platform – in-home, in-store and in-motion. Through its interactive offering – redplum.com – consumers will find compelling national and local deals online. Headquartered in Livonia, Michigan with approximately 7,000 associates in 28 states and eight countries, Valassis is widely recognized for its associate and corporate citizenship programs, including its America’s Looking for Its Missing Children® program. Valassis companies include Valassis Direct Mail, Inc., Valassis Canada, Promotion Watch, Valassis Relationship Marketing Systems, LLC and NCH Marketing Services, Inc. For more information, visit http://www.valassis.com or http://www.redplum.com.

Safe Harbor and Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements found in this document constitute “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors which may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such factors include, among others, the following: price competition from our existing competitors; new competitors in any of our businesses; a shift in client preference for different promotional materials, strategies or coupon delivery methods, including, without limitation, as a result of declines in newspaper circulation; an unforeseen increase in paper or postal costs; changes which affect the businesses of our clients and lead to reduced sales promotion spending, including, without limitation, a decrease of marketing budgets which are generally discretionary in nature and easier to reduce in the short-term than other expenses; our substantial indebtedness, and ability to refinance such indebtedness, if necessary, and our ability to incur additional indebtedness, may affect our financial health; the financial condition, including bankruptcies, of our clients, suppliers, senior secured credit facility lenders or other counterparties; our ability to comply with or obtain modifications or waivers of the financial covenants contained in our debt documents; certain covenants in our debt documents could adversely restrict our financial and operating flexibility; ongoing disruptions in the credit markets that make it difficult for companies to secure financing; fluctuations in the amount, timing, pages, weight and kinds of advertising pieces from period to period, due to a change in our clients’ promotional needs, inventories and other factors; our failure to attract and retain qualified personnel may affect our business and results of operations; a rise in interest rates could increase our borrowing costs; we may be required to recognize additional impairment charges against goodwill and intangible assets in the future; court approval of the settlement agreement among the parties to the pending ADVO securities class action lawsuit; our current litigation with News America Incorporated may be costly and divert management’s attention; possible governmental regulation or litigation affecting aspects of our business; the credit and liquidity crisis in the financial markets could continue to affect our results of operations and financial condition; reductions of our credit ratings may have an adverse impact on our business; counterparties to our secured credit facility and interest rate swaps may not be able to fulfill their obligations due to disruptions in the global credit markets; uncertainty in the application and interpretation of applicable state sales tax laws may expose us to additional sales tax liability; and general economic conditions, whether nationally, internationally, or in the market areas in which we conduct our business, including the adverse impact of the ongoing economic downturn on the marketing expenditures and activities of our clients and prospective clients as well as our vendors, with whom we rely on to provide us with quality materials at the right prices and in a timely manner. These and other risks and uncertainties related to our business are described in greater detail in our filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, including our reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q and the foregoing information should be read in conjunction with these filings. We disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

SOURCE Valassis


Source: newswire



comments powered by Disqus