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RoethlisBURGHer
07-26-2006, 02:28 PM
Channel 19 sues Browns in contract dispute
Suit seeks to bar bid to bail out of TV deal
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
James F. McCarty
Plain Dealer Reporter

WOIO Channel 19 sued the Cleveland Browns on Tuesday, saying the station did nothing to warrant breaking a three-year, $4 million contract to broadcast preseason games and Browns-oriented programs.

Browns Vice President Michael Keenan sent a letter to Bill Applegate, the station's vice president and general manager, on July 13 informing him that the team was terminating the contract because of "repeated instances where WOIO news staff stepped well outside any legitimate boundary of responsible journalism."

Keenan also accused the station's reporters of "sensationalized, overtly negative reporting on the organization and its players."

The last straw for the Browns came after the station broadcast tapes of a 9-1-1 call placed July 9 by team owner Randy Lerner's sister, Nancy Fisher, after finding her 6-year-old daughter drowned in a creek on family property.

"The recent coverage of the Lerner family tragedy is but the latest, albeit the most shocking and insensitive example of this destructive behavior," Keenan wrote. He said the incident "irreparably ruptured" the relationship between the team and the station.

The Browns had no comment about the lawsuit.

"It's a matter that's being handled by our attorneys," spokesman Bill Bonsiewicz said. "We're excited about training camp opening [today], and that's where our focus is right now."

Randy Lerner was traveling and unavailable to comment, the team said.

Channel 19's lawyers asked Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Timothy McMonagle to block the Browns from bailing out of the contract. They said the team provided no justifiable cause to break the contract and failed to give the necessary 30-day notice.

The contract reads that the deal may be terminated by either side for "cause," such as "conduct by one party, its employees or representatives which substantially alters the aggrieved party's ability to benefit from this agreement."

Jack Kluznik, a lawyer representing the station, said the Browns left Channel 19 with no choice but to sue the club.

"We can't continue to go forward and operate with the uncertainty that's been caused by the Browns' threats" to end the TV contract, Kluznik said. "This needs to be resolved."

Judge McMonagle's staff attorney, Christine Hill, said she has received no requests to schedule a hearing for a temporary restraining order. The Browns' first preseason game is Aug. 10 in Philadelphia.

In addition to preserving the contract, Channel 19 asked the judge for compensatory and punitive damages exceeding $25,000.

I think Lerner and the Browns have a case.I think the conduct Channel 19 showed by airing the 9-1-1 tape is justifiable cause to end the contract.

They wanted news rating and got them by airing the tape.Airing the tape was very unclassy,and just unsensitive.But they never thought about this,even though Mr. Lerner asked them NOT to air the tape.

SteelerzGirl
07-26-2006, 05:04 PM
The contract reads that the deal may be terminated by either side for "cause," such as "conduct by one party, its employees or representatives which substantially alters the aggrieved party's ability to benefit from this agreement."


Seems like the Browns have a legitimate case to me, too, but I'm not an attorney. I agree that WOIO's news staff stepped well outside any legitimate boundary of responsible journalism by airing the tape. There's something most certainly wrong w/the legal system if WOIO Channel 19 wins this case. Regardless, I'm sure it will be quite messy.

83-Steelers-43
07-26-2006, 05:05 PM
It's K2's fault.

Cap
07-27-2006, 12:32 AM
Can't say as I blame them. That's terrible publizing a 9-1-1 tape that they were asked NOT TO.

For once, I'm behind the Clowns. Can't blame them at all.

Sympathies to the Lerner family. How awful. :crying01:

83-Steelers-43
08-02-2006, 06:27 AM
Browns win court fight with station
By The Associated Press
Wednesday, August 2, 2006


BEREA, Ohio - The Cleveland Browns severed ties with WOIO-TV on Tuesday after a judge denied the station a restraining order stemming from a dispute over a 911 call involving one of the team owner's relatives.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Timothy E. McMonagle declined to block the club from buying out the final two years of its three-year $4 million contract with Channel 19.

Browns owner Randy Lerner was upset that the station had aired an emergency call placed by his sister, Nancy Fisher, after she found her 6-year-old daughter drowned on the family's property. Recordings of 911 calls are public records and are routinely made available to the media.

There was no immediate comment from the station on the judge's ruling. A message seeking comment was left for WOIO's attorney, John Kluznik.

"The Channel 19 situation looks to have resolved itself reasonably well for both of us," Lerner said before watching practice. "I think everyone feels pretty good."

WOIO was scheduled to broadcast the club's three preseason games. The team is in negotiations with three stations for the broadcast rights. The Browns open their four-game exhibition season on Aug. 10 at Philadelphia.

On July 13, the Browns notified the station that it was breaking the contract. Channel 19 sued the club for $25,000 in damages.

RoethlisBURGHer
08-03-2006, 10:55 AM
Glad the Browns won the lawsuit.

Jeremy
08-03-2006, 11:35 AM
It seems as though the systems does work.