OC Register Counter-Sues LA Times, Calling Them a Mean Ol' "Bully"


So remember the lawsuit that the Los Angeles Times filed this past October against the Orange County Register and its owner, Aaron Kushner over unpaid bills to delivery drivers? Welp, Kushner and the Reg not only denied all the Times allegations in motions filed in Los Angeles Superior Court last week, they also counter-sued for--bear with me--express indemnity, breach of contract, "breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing," intentional interference with contractual relations and prospective economic advantage, misappropriation of trade secrets, and unfair competition.

That's all legalese for Kushner's main allegation against his rival: that the Times are a bunch of mean ol' bullies.

No exaggeration: in the very first paragraph of the cross-complaint, it's claimed the "smaller neighbor...Register...has succeeded in fending off the 'bully' up north"--the "bully," of course, being the Times. And the lawsuit only gets whinier from there. The crux of their argument is that the Times was perfectly happy that the Register was behind on its payments so that the Times could deliver the Reg until Tribune (owners of the Times) got a new CEO who wasn't happy with this arrangement. Once the Times asked Kushner to pay up, not only did they terminate the delivery relationship, but they also started "strong-arming distributors, bribing distributors, having its agents intimidate drivers and other improper actions to make sure that OC Register would not be able to have a full and complete delivery service."

In other words: the Times are a bunch of mean ol' bullies, a point the lawsuit repeated again. Hey, Kush: This is the newspaper industry, not a middle-school gym locker-room tussle. Here's the take by the Register, and instead of me calling the author Kushner's stenographer, note that the byline is Jonathan Lasner, the paper's rightfully respected business columnist. He mentioned that the lawsuit claimed that because the Times cut delivery, the Reg's losses totaled "$6.4 million in lost subscriber revenue; $1.3 million for 'emergency circulation"' expenses; $556,553 for advertisement losses; and $303,977 for extra delivery fees," for a grand total of over $8.5 million."

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Hoo, boy: is this going to be fun!

Email: garellano@ocweekly.com. Twitter: @gustavoarellano.

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