Friday, May 31, 2013

Federal Appeals Court Sides with Time Warner Cable in Nexstar Contract Dispute

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A three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit yesterday in Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. v. Time Warner Cable, Inc. (Case No. 12-10935) upheld a trial court's refusal to grant injunctive relief to Irving, Texas-based Nexstar, thereby, enabling Time Warner to retransmit television signals to its cable subscribers in remote markets.

The appellate panel ruled that Time Warner legitimately had a statutory license to rebroadcast the signals of  Nexstar's  television stations in Rochester, NY; Terre Haute, Ind.; and Wilkes-Barre, Penn., to subscribers in other markets, including Winston-Salem,  N.C., Cincinnati, Ohio, Louisville, Ky., Burlington, Vt.; Plattsburgh, NY; and Orlando, Fla. The plaintiff alleged in its July 2012, breach of contract action that Time Warner was not paying for retransmission of the signals and that it ran afoul of FCC nonduplication rules by, for example, broadcasting the same syndicated programming to its Winston-Salem subscribers at the same time as another station in the market.

The appeals court found the parties' retransmission consent agreement was broad and not geographically restrictive. Judge E. Grady Jolly concluded in the panel's opinion that the agreement gave "Time Warner broad authority to retransmit Nexstar signals on Time Warner stations." Moreover, the appellate panel ruled Nexstar failed to put Time Warner on notice concerning its alleged breach of the nonduplication rules.

Tip of the hat to Courthouse News Service for reporting on this decision.
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