After three of the more bizarre weeks in cable courtroom history, Voom HD and Dish Network may be moving closer to a settlement in the former's $2.4 billion breach-of-contract lawsuit.
According to Susquehanna Financial litigation analyst Thomas Claps, who has been closely monitoring the trial for the past three weeks, a "Possible Settlement" is listed on the court docket in the case for today (Oct. 22). If a settlement is reached, it would bring to an end what has been an increasingly contentious litigation, and could possibly include carriage for AMC Networks, the programmer that houses what remains of the defunct Voom HD channels.
Voom sued Dish in 2008 after the satellite giant canceled its 15-year carriage agreement just two years into the deal. Dish claims Voom voided the deal by failing to invest $100 million annually in the channels, which Voom denies.
Dish began the trial Sept. 28 in New York State Supreme Court in Manhattan with one big mark already against it - the court had earlier ruled that Dish had destroyed evidence that would have been key to the plaintiff's case and would instruct the jury on that matter after both sides had completed their arguments. Almost from the start Judge Richard Lowe had admonished Dish's attorneys for stalling tactics and trying to introduce information he felt was not material to the case. Then, the proceeding took a turn toward the surreal last Tuesday: a Dish executive stormed teary-eyed from the courtroom, tapping the elderly father of one of Voom's attorneys, who then requested that the police get called in.
Lowe dismissed the jury last Wednesday (Oct. 17) so the lawyers for both sides could work out some legal issues, according to one court attendee. The trial was adjourned until Monday because of juror conflicts.
AMC and Dish declined to comment on the possibility of a settlement.