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April Hearing Could Rewrite Troubled Seattle JOA

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

April Hearing Could Rewrite Troubled Seattle JOA

Article excerpt

The King County (Wash.) judge overseeing the litigation between the feuding partners in the Seattle joint operating agreement (JOA) has set an April 9 hearing date for a citizens committee that maintains a 1999 amendment to the pact is unconstitutional.

Lawyers for both newspapers in the JOA will ask the judge to delay the hearing, arguing it would interfere with the private arbitration process that is to settle the fate of the partnership by the end of May, the Seattle Times reported.

The motion, made last week by the Committee for a Two-Newspaper Town (CTNT), is the first public development in months in the dispute between the Seattle Times Co., principal owner of The Seattle Times, and Hearst Corp., owner of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. In 2003, Hearst sued the Times Co. to block it from triggering a clause that could dissolve the JOA or force the P-I to close if the partnership lost money for three consecutive years. The P-I challenged the Times' calculation of the alleged loss, and maintains that without the JOA it would be forced to fold. The Times argued that it has been bled financially by the expense of operating the P-I. …

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