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Posted 27 Aug 2001   For week ended August 03, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 20Aug01

By Paul Carter

SLC Newspaper Battles Escalate to Utah Supreme Court

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- One of the latest salvoes of paperwork in the court battles involving the Salt Lake daily newspapers was fired from the legal guns of managers of The Salt Lake Tribune. In a petition to the Utah Supreme Court, Tribune Publishing Company asked that a lower judge's decision be overruled so that a lawsuit against the managers can be heard in Salt Lake County.

The original lawsuit against Tribune Publishing Company, the managers, was filed by The Deseret News Publishing Company in Davis County, north of Salt Lake City and County. In the suit, the Deseret News argues that the Joint Operating Agreement between the two companies has been breached by the Tribune. In addition, The Deseret News in the suit requests that a jury declare that the News has a legal right to veto any sale of The Salt Lake Tribune since the Tribune and the News share equal ownership of Newspaper Agency Corp, which is the company that jointly operates both papers.

Lawyers for the Deseret News filed the suit in Davis County where, according to the News, each paper has about the same number of subscribers. According to lawyers for the Tribune, the choice of Davis County as the venue for the suit was to find a jury pool with a high percentage of the population being members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The Church owns The Deseret News Company.

Tribune lawyers state in their petition to the state supreme court that the suit belongs in Salt Lake County because that is where the Joint Operating Agreement (JOA) was signed. The petition notes that the JOA is actually not between the News and the Tribune managers, but rather between the News and Kearns-Tribune LLC which is a holding company for the current owner of the paper, MediaNews Group based in Denver. Kearns-Tribune LLC is also named as a defendant in this legal action.

In addition to the suit by The Deseret News Publishing Company, The Tribune Publishing Company is involved in another suit which it filed last December against AT&T Corporation and MediaNews. Tribune Publishing Corporation had an option to purchase The Salt Lake Tribune after July of 2002. That option was negated with the sale of The Tribune to MediaNews by AT&T Corp this past January. In its suit, Tribune Publishing Corporation is seeking to overturn the sale so that the management group can exercise its option and become the owner/manager of the paper.

In this second suit, The Deseret News Publishing Company has asked the US District Court judge to allow the News to become a party to the suit, given the News' ownership in Newspaper Agency Corp. If allowed to join that suit, lawyers for the News have stated that they will ask for dismissal of the suit.


Judge Denies Tribune Venue Request, Ruling allows D-News to sue in Davis County
Salt Lake Tribune 1Aug01 B4
By Kristen Moulton: The Salt Lake Tribune

Motion Filed to Remove Trib Lawyers
Salt Lake Tribune 2Aug01 B4
By Kristen Moulton: The Salt Lake Tribune

MediaNew Man in Utah: He's in, He's out
Editor &Publisher 6Aug01 B4
By Lucia Moses
JOA Troubles Continue In Salt Lake City


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