Saturday, June 12, 2010

Appeals court hears SF Weekly's case

The SF Weekly and its owner, Village Voice Media, got its day in court on Friday (June 11). The alt-weekly chain is trying to get the California Court of Appeals to overturn a $21 million verdict in favor of the Bay Guardian. The Guardian argued that the chain sold ads at below the cost of production in an attempt to run it out of business. A jury agreed.

News coverage of the case has mainly come from the two papers involved in it -- and neither has even pretended to cover the proceedings objectively. Here's the SF Weekly's coverage of Friday's hearing, written by Andy Van De Voorde, an editor from the chain's home office in Arizona.

Reading between the lines, it seems as if the SF Weekly's lawyer, Dennis P. Maio, was forced to play defense during Friday's hearing with judges interrupting him as he tried to make his case. It's also interesting to note how the story makes no mention of the SF Weekly's owner, Village Voice Media (formerly New Times), and how the story uses a $16 million figure rather than the current number of $21 million (which includes interest).

Whatever the number, the SF Weekly and its owner hasn't paid, and the Weekly has had to obtain court orders to take the paper's vans and collect its incoming checks from advertisers.

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