Monday, January 14, 2008

Reading The Tea Leaves

I don't like to make predictions but I have this crazy hunch that Ampersand v. Indy, Wendy McCaw's lawsuit against the Santa Barbara Independent for copyright infringement, which is set to go to trial at the end of this month will not in fact be tried.

True, my basis for saying that is pretty thin. It's based on the strange shuffling by the federal court in Los Angeles of the schedule for hearing motions in that case. Consider the following.

Originally, several important pre-trial motions were to be heard this morning. First there was the Indy's request for reconsideration of its motion to dismiss Ampersand's complaint for copyright infringement and misappropriation of trade secrets. Late last week the court announced that it intended to rule on that motion based upon the written papers only and that there would be no hearing on the motion this morning.

Also to have been heard this morning were motions by both sides (cross-motions they are called) for discovery. Most interesting of those motions is Ampersand's motion to compel Indy executive editor Nick Welsh to testify about his sources for his information that Ampersand was taking former News-Press editor Jerry Roberts to arbitration.

That motion, along with the others, was supposed to be heard starting at 10 am this morning but the court announced late last week that it was postponing the hearing to 4:30 pm on Wednesday.

4:30 in the afternoon to start a hearing on a major motion? Sounds to me like the judge thinks that this motion is not going to take very long to hear.

And of course depending how the ruling on the motion for reconsideration goes those discovery motions could be moot.

Very curious. I'll keep you posted.

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There's a video of the news conference and rally in De la Guerra Plaza following the announcement of a labor law judge's ruling against the News-Press posted over at Off-Leash Public Affairs.

* * *

From the looks of there was only one news story in Sunday's edition of the paper with a local by-line on it.

* * *

Besides the out-of-state telemarketing firm that many readers report getting calls from urging them to resubscribe to the News-Press one reader reports that elementary age school kids have come by their house asking for help earning a free trip to Sacramento if they can get enough people to sign up for a second month free with a one month subscription offer to the News-Press.

Gotta run. The teapot is whistling!

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