It was a big day in court in the battle of Dish vs. AMC in the VOOM case.Deleted Dish emails were discovered over the weekend and presented in court Tuesday, “hurting [Dish Network] in a big way,” reports Deadline.
The emails concern AMC’s $2.5 billion breach of contract suit against Dish after the satellite company decided to drop the now-defunct VOOM HD channels in 2008.
VOOM’s channels, formerly owned by Cablevision, were packaged with AMC.
It is “the most damaging evidence to date,” Susquehanna Financial Group’s Thomas Claps, who is monitoring the case, says of the emails.
In October, Judge Richard Lowe said that before the jurors on the case deliberate, he would, according to Bloomberg, “instruct them about Dish’s destruction of e-mails before and after the lawsuit was filed. Lowe granted AMC’s motion for sanctions, saying Dish should have anticipated a lawsuit and begun saving e-mails when it notified Voom it might terminate the contract. Dish said the e-mails were automatically deleted.”
But AMC’s team uncovered the emails on Dish’s hard drives, and now they’re shedding new light on a key issue in the trial, according to Deadline:
Did VOOM’s backers (Cablevision and AMC, which the cable company spun off last year) live up to a condition in their carriage contract that required them to invest at least $100M a year in the fledgling networks? Dish says they didn’t — giving it the right to drop the channels because the $100M requirement applied just to domestic programming, not overhead or overseas expenses.
A 2005 email exchange between Ergen and his chief negotiator with VOOM, Michael Schwimmer, reveals an appendix to the agreement with permitted expenditures and “overhead expenses are specifically referenced,” Clap says.
Equally as damaging, another email exchange from 2007 “shows execs agreeing that VOOM backers had to spend $100M a year on the venture — not just programming,” according to an advisor on the case. “Schwimmer’s own words on April 27, 2007 are now directly inconsistent with his testimony” that the agreement was just about programming.
After Tuesday’s deliberations in which New York Supreme Court Judge Richard Lowe III ruled that Dish”s only remaining damages expert can’t testify in AMC’s breech of contract suit, Dish Network is down nearly one per cent – while AMC Networks shares were up 2.7 per cent in mid-afternoon trading.
SEE ALSO: A history of Dish & AMC’s cable war >
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