Advanced Television

Judge slams EchoStar in VOOM litigation

October 15, 2012

By Chris Forrester

EchoStar’s lawyers received a dressing down from Judge Richard Lowe III in a New York courtroom on October 12th, who told them bluntly: “Everybody involved in this litigation [for Dish] has no credibility when it comes to document exchange, when it comes to turning everything over [to the plaintiffs] you’ve been directed to turn over,” Judge Lowe said in directing the information be turned over, referring to the ongoing fight over the production of the audit report and the judge’s 2010 ruling that imposed an adverse inference on Dish for “systematically” destroying emails after the lawsuit was filed.

Cablevision/VOOM is suing EchoStar/Dish for $2.4 billion over the early termination of a contract by EchoStar which, says VOOM, forced their all-HDTV bouquet out of business.

The EchoStar/Dish lawyers were given this weekend to produce computer hard drives and subscriber records which would enable VOOM/Cablevision’s lawyers to investigate whether EchoStar/Dish manipulated the number of subscribers to the VOOM service. It is alleged that these numbers were deliberately under-stated in an attempt to reduce the potential damages. There are also allegations that the data was deliberately manipulated immediately ahead of the trial’s start.

Earlier last week the judge again admonished EchoStar’s lawyers arguing that they were deliberately using delaying tactics in supplying information to the plaintiffs.  EchoStar/Voom had successfully appealed for more time.  The judge said the trial had already been delayed “too much” and that there would be no more delays, nor would he [derail the trial] “no matter how upset, annoyed or angry I get,” he stated. The judge’s comments are understood to refer to members of his jury, some of whom have other commitments at the end of this month.

Categories: Articles, DTH/Satellite, Policy, Regulation