September 20, 2012 11:04am PT by Georg Szalai
Analyst: Judge Delays Jury Selection in AMC Networks-Dish Trial
The second day of a closely followed trial between AMC Networks and satellite TV giant Dish ended with delays, according to Susquehanna International Group analyst Thomas Claps.
"Jury selection was postponed again until Monday, Sept. 24, as the court did not have an adequate number of prospective jurors in the jury pool to begin the selection process," he wrote in a report, mentioning 16 prospective jurors.
The judge apologized to both parties for the delay, but also "encouraged the parties to engage in discussions," he said.
"We continue to believe that Dish faces significant trial headwinds, and that the most logical outcome is a settlement involving a resolution of the Voom litigation and a new carriage agreement for AMC," Claps said.
Dish wasn't immediately available for comment. AMC declined comment.
The legal showdown focuses on Voom, the former satellite TV business launched by Cablevision Systems owners the Dolan family whose successor is now part of AMC Networks. The case could affect the future carriage of the firm's AMC, IFC, Sundance Channel and WE tv channels.
Claps explained the challenges in the case. Given that the two companies have "high consumer visibility, a number of the prospective jurors may have certain knowledge of the parties/issues," he wrote. "This knowledge could give rise to certain biases that may prevent a juror from serving." That is why the court will need a large prospective jury pool to choose from.
Given current timelines, jury selection looks to happen on Monday, with closing arguments and a verdict likely to come in around late October, according to Claps.
The AMC network will premiere the new season of Walking Dead on Oct. 14.
In the legal case, AMC is asking for damages of $2.5 billion plus interest of an additional $1 billion.