A Chicago judge vacated a $90 million judgment awarded to JamSports and Entertainment in its suit against Clear Channel Communications and ordered a new trial because of a “a significant ambiguity” in the way the award was determined by a jury March 21st.
A U.S. District Court jury found that Clear Channel and Paradama Productions had interfered with a contract and “prospective advantage” in a deal JamSports had attempted to secure with the American Motorcycle Assoc., doing business as Paradama, to promote Supercross motorcycling events nationwide.
JamSports claimed that Clear Channel intimidated the AMA into reneging on an agreement in 2003.
But Judge Matthew Kennelly decided to throw out $73 million in combined punitive damages awarded for the claims to separate the two issues, and ordered a new trial on that basis, according to JamSports attorney Jeffrey Singer.
The remaining $17 million was awarded for compensatory damages.
According to court documents, the ruling does not alter the findings of the jury, but does require a new trial, with a new jury, to revisit the determination of damages.
“The judge does not believe that JamSports ruled out Clear Channel’s defense under one of the counts, tortious interference with economic opportunity, that they were just mere competitors,” Singer told Pollstar.
“Under Illinois law, if there is any evidence [Clean Channel was] competing for the same contract, even if they acted maliciously or with ill will, it does not permit the jury verdict to stand. We view the law differently than what the judge believes the law requires and that’s why we are going to file a motion to reconsider probably by the end of next week.”
Andrew Levin, Clear Channel Communications’ chief legal officer, could not be reached at press time.
“We’ve got some questions we’re going to raise,” JamSports’ Jerry Mickelson told Pollstar. “What we’ve got is another bite at the apple. The point is the verdict still stands; just what are the damages?”
A status hearing is scheduled for August 22nd.
– Deborah Speer