Judge's Ruling Sparks Dueling Interpretations In Pompano v. Westwood One
April 9, 2008 at 2:56 PM (PT)
Dueling press releases take opposing views of what a federal judge's rulings in a lawsuit by POMPANO HELICOPTERS against WESTWOOD ONE mean.
Pompano: Our Suit's Been 'Sustained'
In POMPANO's press release, the company says that U.S. District Judge WILLIAM J. ZLOCH "sustained" multiple charges contained in its $362 million lawsuit against WESTWOOD ONE, alleging that the network used unfair, slanderous and deceptive trade practices to drive POMPANO. which characterizes itself ad a vendor and potential competitor, out of business.
POMPANO says that ZLOCH denied WESTWOOD ONE's motion to dismiss its lawsuit, thereby allowing it to proceed to trial in Federal Court. The release says that the federal judge ruled POMPANO HELICOPTERS provided sufficient cause for the lawsuit to be brought to trail, including Breach of Contract, Slander, Wrongful Taking of Trade Secrets and Unfair Trade Practices. If punitive damages are awarded, asserts POMPANO, damages could rise to over $400 million.
In the federal case, POMPANO HELICOPTERS alleges that executives and other staff of WESTWOOD ONE perpetrated a smear campaign against the helicopter company and its owner. The suit charges WESTWOOD ONE executives deliberately spread false allegations of poor maintenance, bankruptcy and ongoing problems with the Federal Aviation Administration, all of which POMPANO says were untrue and slanderous. The suit further contends a former engineer at POMPANO HELICOPTERS stole its business plan and turned it over to top corporate personnel at WESTWOOD ONE and METRO NETWORKS.
Westwood One: Not So Fast
In a press release late WEDNESDAY, WESTWOOD ONE responded, "POMPANO HELICOPTERS' press release falsely states that its lawsuit seeks '$362 million' in damages. In fact, for the now-dismissed asset-sale count, the Complaint sought less than $6 million in damages. The remaining counts of the Complaint have no claims for actual damages, aside from an allegation that they seek, in the aggregate, 'in excess of' $60,000 in compensatory damages. Moreover, Judge ZLOCH did not find that POMPANO HELICOPTERS had 'provided sufficient cause for the lawsuit to be brought to trial.'Instead, Judge ZLOCH dismissed three counts of the Complaint and invited a future summary judgment motion to address the remaining counts.
"The case has not yet entered discovery. WESTWOOD ONE believes that the remaining claims in the Complaint are without merit and it intends to defend the litigation vigorously. WESTWOOD ONE is also evaluating its legal options with respect to the false statements in the POMPANO HELICOPTERS' release."