* Court files entry that mentions "poss. settlement"
* Court later takes out reference to settlement
* AMC shares rise 4 percent
* Judge's chambers calls filing a "mistake"
* Trial set to resume Monday with Ergen testimony
By Liana B. Baker
Oct 18 The high-profile legal battle pitting
Dish Network against Cablevision took another
unexpected turn on Thursday when the court electronically posted
an entry that pointed to a potential settlement.
Voom HD, a former Cablevision unit, sued Dish in 2008,
saying the satellite television distributor violated a 15-year
deal to carry HD programming and should pay $2.4 billion in
damages. The trial has been unfolding in New York State Supreme
Court in Manhattan since Sept. 28.
On Thursday, the court posted a docket entry dated Oct. 22
that said "9:30 AM Poss. Settlement."
A few hours later, however, the court changed the entry to
remove the mention of a settlement. A person who answered the
phone at the judge's chambers on Thursday described the possible
settlement filing as a "mistake."
Shares of AMC, a Cablevision subsidiary that now
houses the Voom assets, closed up nearly 4 percent at $45.27 on
Thursday. Analysts have said a settlement could restore AMC
Networks' channels on Dish's system and restore the 13 percent
of AMC's subscribers that were lost after Dish blacked out AMC
Cablevision declined to comment on the filing. Dish, which
ranks as the nation's third-largest pay-TV provider with 14
million subscribers, also declined to comment.
AMC's cable networks, which include the eponymous channel
that airs "Walking Dead" and "Mad Men," IFC, Sundance, and WE,
have been blacked out on Dish systems since July as a result of
a contract dispute.
The confusion over the docket entry is the latest twist in a
case that has brought high-profile witnesses such as Cablevision
founder and Chairman Charles Dolan and AMC Network's CEO Josh
Sapan to the stand.
On Tuesday, senior Dish executive Carolyn Crawford stormed
out of court after the judge ordered her to hand over her laptop
to look for evidence that had not been turned over in the case.
Crawford also shoved the 83-year-old father of Cablevision
attorney Orin Snyder and said, "I hope you are proud of your
son," said one witness who declined to be named.
Dish attorney James Bennett said in court on Wednesday that
Crawford was sorry for her actions asked to address the judge on
Press shy billionaire Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen was
scheduled to testify on Wednesday but the judge unexpectedly
dismissed the jury and said the trial would resume on Monday.
Ergen is expected to take the stand then.
The case is Voom HD Holdings v. EchoStar Satellite, New York
State Supreme Court, New York County, No. 600292/2008.