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Dish Scores $4.9 Million Award Against ESPN

Jury Rules for Satellite Company on Single Count in $152M Breach of Contract Suit 2/28/2013 12:49 PM Eastern

A jury awarded Dish Network $4.9 million of the $152 million it was seeking against ESPN in a breach of contract lawsuit.

The jury decided unanimously that ESPN let other distributors pay lower rates for the Spanish-language channel ESPN Deportes, violating a most-favored-nation clause in a 2005 licensing deal. But the jury rejected other claims by Dish.

In a statement, ESPN said "we are gratified that the jury rejected all but one of Dish’s claims and all but $4.8 million of the more than $153 million in damages they were seeking."

ESPN said it had not yet decided whether or not it will appeal the case.

The suit was filed in 2009 and was heard in U.S. District Court in New York’s Southern District.

ESPN and Dish have tangled in other courtrooms, and ESPN has won judgments worth more than more than $100 million in other actions.

In 2008, a New York state court awarded ESPN $56 million in fees in a suit about high-definition feeds.  Dish hasn’t paid ESPN, pending an appeal.

A state judge also ruled in 2011 that Dish owed Disney $66 million in interest because of late payments.

Dish’s distribution agreement with ESPN expires at the end of the year, which means more fireworks could be on the horizon.

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