Brian Greenspun denied again for TRO to stop dissolution of JOA

Las Vegas Sun Publisher Brian Greenspun cannot sue the parent company of the Review-Journal until a deal is signed between his siblings and Stephens Media, a judge ruled today.

Greenspun's attorney, Joe Alioto, says he is preparing an appeal to the Ninth Circuit to prevent the RJ from dissolving a decades-old Joint Operating Agreement.

The order from Judge James Mahan is below.

UPDATED: Alioto also told me that he believes that the RJ's attorneys were responsible for Leif Reid's request to withdraw from the case, saying they manufactured a tenuous conflict as part of a strategy to "get rid of the soldiers" on Brian Greenspun's team. He says Leif Reid's firm previously had waived any conflicts (I tried to get a comment from Reid the Younger, but, not surprisingly, he said: "I can't go into it either way because of the attorney client privilege.")

"These guys think they are fooling around with amateurs, for crying out loud," Alioto told me, while reiterating the case is simply about the "comeptition of ideas" and that the failure for the judge to act until a deal is signed would set a terrible precedent. "This would be a road map for others to violate (antitrust laws) by waiting until the 11th hour to sign a deal," he said.

RJ attorney Don Campbell responded quite strongly: "We unequivocally and without reservation and/or hesitation deny emphatically that Mr. Alioto's claims have any basis in fact. They are completely untrue, and moreover, we find them laughable at best. As for his condemnation of Judge Mahan’s ruling....suffice it to say, we strongly disagree as does the U.S. Supreme Court and many courts of appeal.”

(Disclosure: Campbell is my lawyer.)

All of this comes after I reported on the Leif Reid withdrawal, which was followed by a pretty amazing work of "journalism" in the Sun (notice no byline) in which Brian Greenspun said he objected to Reid the Younger's request even though the attorney simply said he was following ethical guidelines.




Presently before the court is individual plaintiff Brian Greenspun’s emergency motion for
a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction. (Docs. ## 36, 37). Plaintiff also asks the
court to grant expedited discovery under Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(d). 
On August 20, 2013, plaintiffs filed their first emergency motions for a preliminary
injunction and temporary restraining order. (Docs. ## 2, 3). The thrust of plaintiffs’ claims allege
that the defendants have conspired to monopolize the Las Vegas newspaper market, in violation of
federal and state antitrust laws.1
On August 27, 2013, the court granted plaintiffs’ motion for a temporary restraining order
and set a preliminary injunction hearing for September 6, 2013. At the hearing, the court entertained
argument from the parties regarding, among other things, the justiciability of the matter for review. 
At that hearing, and as detailed in the subsequent order, the court held that “there is no definitive
contract or agreement that presently exists between Defendants and Las Vegas Sun, Inc. and/or the
Greenspun Media Group terminating the Joint Operating Agreement under which the Las Vegas
Review-Journal and Las Vegas Sun newspapers are published. Accordingly, Plaintiffs’ complaint
that the termination of the Joint Operating Agreement will violate antitrust laws is premature and
not ripe.” (See Order doc. # 34).
According to plaintiff’s latest motions for a temporary restraining order and preliminary
injunction, the defendants and the Las Vegas Sun Inc. and/or Greenspun Media Group have since
added minor amendments to the letter of intent and have signed the letter as an indication of their
understanding of its proposed terms. Greenspun notes these changes and then proceeds to repeat
largely the same legal arguments advanced in plaintiff’s first motion for a temporary restraining
order and preliminary injunction. 
Upon review of plaintiff’s motions, it appears that the only difference between the
circumstances as they existed at the time of his first motions and as they stand now is that the letter
has been signed by the parties. (See proposed letter of intent, attached to doc. # 36).
However, the court is unpersuaded that the presence of the signatures on the non-binding
letter of intent somehow transforms this matter into one ripe for review. The court’s concerns
expressed at the September 6, 2013, hearing and in the subsequent order remain: there is no
definitive contract orlegallybinding agreement providing for termination of the JOA. Consequently,
the matter is still not ripe for review.
IT IS HEREBY ORDERED, ADJUDGED, AND DECREED that plaintiff’s emergency
motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction (docs. # 36 & 37) be, and the
same hereby is, DENIED.
DATED September 25, 2013.