Last Updated Jun 4, 2009 3:47 PM EDT
Sapala's decision has dismayed employees, clients and investors in both Valassis and News America, who now have no idea how the trial is going. Many have contacted BNET asking for updates. In the case, Valassis has accused News America of attempting to gain a monopoly of the in-store supermarket advertising business by illegally tying its in-store offerings to its newspaper coupon business. By using one to subsidize the other, Valassis alleges, News America unfairly dominates the market and distorts competition.
CVN's letter noted that Sapala was within his rights to ban cameras at the trial (download a copy here). However, CVN wrote:
the decision was made without an on the record finding called for per Administrative Order No.1989-1, Film or Electronic Media Coverage of Court Proceedings. We respectfully inquire as to why that was the case and the reasons why Your Honor would have cited for rejecting our properly submitted request for media access had such a finding been made...Also unanswered is the question of why both Valassis and News America wanted the trial unfilmed. News America obviously would favor it because the less its clients know about allegations of how they bill their clients, the better. But for Valassis, publicizing bad news about News America would seem only to add to the pressure on their opponents. Perhaps Valassis' lawyers believe that News America will be more likely to settle under cover of darkness, so to speak.
Of course, the camera ban is not the main issue at the trial. Among other things, the big drama will be whether Valassis can use evidence from former News America employee Robert Emmel to make its case. It was Emmel who revealed at a different trial, Floorgraphics v. News America, that his company took money from clients for ads that never appeared. BNET previously reported that some Emmel evidence will be allowed in even though Emmel himself may not be a witness.
- See BNET's previous coverage of the in-store marketing wars:
- Valassis v. News America: Whistleblower Emmel's Prior Testimony Allowed In
- Cameras Banned at Valassis v. News America Trial; Whistleblower Emmel Also Ruled Out
- On Eve of Valassis vs. News America Trial in State Court, a Federal Judge Looks On --
- UPDATED: News America Marketing's Acquisition of Floorgraphics Not Big Enough to Show Up in Q1 Numbers
- Valassis Q1: Legal Bills Running at 22% of Profits; Hints of Layoffs?
- News America Marketing Sues Valassis Alleging Bogus Web Posts
- Valassis Accused of Using Hidden Identities in Online War With News America Marketing
- News America Marketing Forces Whistleblower Into Bankruptcy
- News America Marketing Whistleblower: Clients Were Charged for Ads That Never Appeared
- Was N.Y. Post's Carlucci the Reason for News America Marketing's Settlement With Floorgraphics?
- News America Marketing's Alleged Plans to Seize Safeway Account Outlined in Suit
- Valassis to Stick With "Majority" of Newspapers; Settles Fraser Billing Dispute
- Valassis, Insignia Stock Jumps on News America Marketing Group Settlement
- Valassis CEO Got Big Raise Despite Company's Losses
- News America Marketing Group Wins Summary Judgment Against Whistleblower Robert Emmel
- News America Marketing Group Buys Floorgraphics Just Hours After Settling Spying Lawsuit
- News America Marketing Group Settles With Floorgraphics; Valassis, Insignia Likely Rejoicing