Echostar Sanctions Over E-Mail Destruction Affirmed in Cablevision Lawsuit

Scott Greczkowski

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Echostar Sanctions Over E-Mail Destruction Affirmed in Cablevision Lawsuit
By Chris Dolmetsch - Jan 31, 2012 12:17 PM ET .

A New York State appeals court affirmed a decision to impose sanctions on EchoStar Satellite LLC for destroying e-mail evidence in a Cablevision Systems Corp. (CVC) contract suit.

The Manhattan court today upheld a decision by the trial judge, Richard Lowe. The judge found in November 2010 that EchoStar “systematically destroyed evidence in direct violation of the law.” He said he will tell jurors that the company did so and that the jury may assume the evidence would have been helpful to the plaintiffs.

The sanction was “appropriate and proportionate,” Justice Sallie Manzanet-Daniels wrote in a unanimous appeals court opinion on the suit by Cablevision’s Voom HD Holdings unit.

Read the rest at Echostar Sanctions Over E-Mail Destruction Affirmed in Cablevision Lawsuit - Bloomberg
 
Juan

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Call me stupid..But isnt echostar based in COLORADO and NYS laws shouldn't apply?
 
whitewolf8214

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wow :) echostar is screwed now imo :)
 
navychop

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nelson61

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They got into a similar problem early on in the TIVO case and were whacked hard by the judge.

Both incidents occurred way back.
Someone close to the top had to make the decison to conceal at that time.

You get what you deserve when you don't play by the civil rules (been there, seen that, and know what happens when caught).

It's not just businesses that do it. Our government lawers are really good at it also. I've dug thru agency file drawers in the discovery process and found files "empty" and gotten the shoulder shrug and runaround when I know exactly what is missing. Slip down to the coffee shop and a clerk will tell you yes "they" were here the week before and did some "private" file maintenance.
 
BobMurdoch

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Pick your poison..... Documents that crucify you, or missing documents that the defense can infer would have crucified you. The lesser of two evils to lose them. Oops. Does E* really care about what the courts say anyway? They burn through legal fees like a sailor burns through his salary on shore leave....
 
Hall

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Call me stupid..But isnt echostar based in COLORADO and NYS laws shouldn't apply?
When two businesses in different states have a contract, they agree -- in the contract -- where any civil matters would be dealt with. In this case, it's obvious that they chose New York.
 
Supertv

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Voom Get Big Lift In Lawsuit Against Dish

A four-year-old, $2.5-billion lawsuit pitting former Cablevision Systems-owned satellite TV service Voom HD against No. 2 satellite television service provider Dish Network (nee EchoStar) appears to be moving closer to a trial, after an appeals judge affirmed that Dish destroyed evidence critical to the case.
A New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division judge has affirmed a lower-court decision that an adverse inference jury instruction is warranted in the case, potentially a severe blow to the plaintiffs.

83487-VoomStart300.jpg
Voom HD and Rainbow Media's Josh Sapan (left), Charles Dolan and Mickey Alpert show off the satellite-TV service at launch.
In her ruling issued Jan. 31, Appellate Division Justice Sallie Manzanet-Daniels wrote, "Although Voom may have other evidence to point to, the missing evidence is from a crucial time period during which EchoStar appears to have been searching for a way out of its contract. EchoStar's internal communications undoubtedly concerned issues about what it understood the contract to mean, a contract that the motion court has now found to be ambiguous."​
EchoStar in 2008 split up into Dish Network, the satellite-TV provider, and equipment supplier EchoStar Corp.
Cablevision shut down the Voom service in 2008 shortly after a carriage pact with EchoStar was terminated.
The channels were housed within Cablevision's former Rainbow Media Holdings programming unit, which was spun off as a separate public company last year as AMC Networks.
A trial was scheduled for last February, but was put on hold for the current appeal. No new court date has been yet been set.
"We are very pleased with today's ruling and look forward to putting the case to a jury," Cablevision said in a statement. Dish declined to comment.
Sanford Bernstein cable and satellite analyst Craig Moffett in a report called the ruling "a clear negative for Dish Network, and significantly strengthens the hands of AMC and Cablevision, either in court or in any potential settlement."
The case was originally filed in 2008 and stems from the Dish (then EchoStar Communications) decision to sever its contract with Voom HD, claiming that the fledgling HD content service breached its agreement.
As part of a $200-million purchase of Voom satellite assets in 2005, EchoStar agreed to carry Voom's 21 HD channels for 15 years.
The satellite giant had the right to terminate or alter the deal if Voom failed to spend $100 million on the service in any given calendar year.
When EchoStar terminated the contract in 2008, it said it did so because Voom breached the agreement.
Voom had denied that it failed to live up to the deal, and filed a suit later in 2008 claiming EchoStar had no right to terminate the agreement.
Voom is asking for about $2.5 billion in damages.
During the discovery portion of that case, Voom learned that EchoStar had deleted e-mail messages from employees that could be material to its case.
In November 2010, New York State Supreme Court Justice Richard Lowe chastised Dish for its conduct in the matter, granting Voom's motion to include an "adverse inference" instruction to the jury when the case goes to trial.
That instruction, according to several observers, is potentially devastating to Dish's case, because it instructs the jury that Dish had destroyed evidence that could be considered helpful to Cablevision.
According to the most recent ruling, a handful of those emails were recovered and proved to be highly relevant, including some from former EchoStar vice chairman Carl Vogel calling the Voom deal a "mistake" by previous management and pushing for executives to find a breach of the agreement to allow EchoStar out of the deal.
What EchoStar came up with -- that Voom had breached the deal by spending under $100 million on the service in 2006 -- was quickly refuted by Voom, which claimed its spent $102.9 million on the channels that year.
Later EchoStar's own auditor determined that Voom was correct. "...these guys are clean . . .very organized, forthcoming, and from an accounting perspective run a good shop," the auditor wrote to EchoStar in October 2007, according to the ruling on Monday.
Cablevision stock on Tuesday closed at $14.55, down 15 cents (1%), in NASDAQ trading. Dish closed at $27.92, down 49 cents (1.7%).


Voom Get Big Lift In Lawsuit Against Dish - 2012-01-31 21:01:24 | Multichannel News
 
tomcrown1

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Echostar is a stupid company and will lose this law suit. Can we say a big price increase in 2013. Will disney sue dish or hbo etc. Let the law Suits begin.
 
Mojo Jojo

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Echostar is a stupid company and will lose this law suit. Can we say a big price increase in 2013. Will disney sue dish or hbo etc. Let the law Suits begin.

Ugh to a big price increase in 2013. Hopefully not...:p
 
MikeD-C05

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I'm sorry but Voom screwed US for months before DISH dropped them. One word described their service for the last year we had them: RERUNS!
 
Rwwatson

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I'm sorry but Voom screwed US for months before DISH dropped them. One word described their service for the last year we had them: RERUNS!

AMEN! I used to love those channels (especially the Kung Fu channel), but towards the end, they were playing the same 3 movies all month. I would have dropped them if I were Dish, seriously, how many calls do you think they were getting asking why the VOOM channels were playing the same 3 or 4 movies all month!
 
T

tempVAdish

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"Voom sued in 2008, accusing EchoStar of breaching a distribution agreement that called for Voom to provide 21 high- definition television channels to EchoStar, which at the time operated the Dish satellite-television network."

Didn't Voom drop back to 15 channels (or less) before Dish dropped them? If I'm wrong, I apologize, but if I'm right, the case should've never become a case since Voom didn't stand up to the 21 available channels on their end. (Not bashing Voom either because I too enjoyed the channels) Just tired of one sided cry & win court cases... All happened with the little old lady that spilled coffee in her lap & McD's had to pay $1M because the hot coffee was hot...

/rant...
 
loubon

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I have a hard time believing Cablevision is right about anything.
 
jpmarto

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Under Sarbanes-Oxley, it's pretty much a slam dunk that any suppression of evidence results in a finding for the plaintiff. If the evidence destroyed were sought by a Federal agency, such as the FCC, criminal sanctions could have been applied. I find it totally impossible a high tech company like Dish could lose emails. Bad form, DN.
 
MikeD-C05

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The only real Voom channel I liked that I miss was Monsters Hd. But the content for that channel is still around on other channels I get now in hd.
 

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