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Miller Canfield Leads Valassis Victory in News America Lawsuit

News America Agrees to Pay $500 Million; Signs 10-Year Shared Mail Distribution Agreement with Valassis Direct Mail

February 1, 2010

Miller Canfield assisted its client, Valassis Communications, Inc., in concluding the final chapter in its legal battle with News America, Inc., a part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.  As part of a comprehensive settlement, which was reached three days before the parties were scheduled to begin a jury trial in Federal Court in Detroit, News America agreed to pay Valassis $500 million and enter into a 10-year shared mail distribution agreement with Valassis. 

Valassis was represented by Miller Canfield and the Law Offices of David Mendelson.  Miller Canfield’s experienced team of litigators was led by Gregory L. Curtner and A. Michael Palizzi. View Valassis’ press release.

The case began in 2006 and was split into three cases at News America’s request.  The first went to trial in Michigan’s Wayne County Circuit Court before the Honorable Michael F. Sapala. Valassis claimed unfair competition and tortious interference by News America.  The $500 million settlement includes $300 million awarded after an eight-week jury trial in July 2009.

“We are very pleased with this extraordinary result and with our team’s creative execution from pre-suit planning through massive document discovery and cutting-edge legal battles,” said Gregory L. Curtner.  “I am proud of our entire team, including A. Michael Palizzi, Kimberly L. Scott, Robert J. Wierenga, Kimberly K. Kefalas, Carl H. von Ende, Suzanne L. Wahl, Tom O’Brien, Dari Bargy, and Marcy L. Rosen.” Miller Canfield’s Electronic Discovery and Records Management group was instrumental in the early discovery phase of the litigation. 

“We value our long-standing relationship with our co-counsel David Mendelson, Julie Lyons-Kosovec and Henry Baskin,” Curtner added. The trial team also included Anthony Rusciano of Plunkett & Cooney.

The lawyers were supported by experienced, trial-tested staff led by Eric V. McLand, Laura A. Misisian, James M. Angyan, Daniel C. Banda, Amanda Misisian, Ryan Sanderson, Theresa Kaiser, Jamie L. Colunga, Jill L. Jonas, Denise S. Chapman, Libby Hausler, Jeffrey L. Widen, Rosemarie Wilson and Beth A. Lankard.   The team also included outside consultants, Eric Oliver, John Mooy, Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, and Jeff Isler. 

The law firm of Miller Canfield offers businesses, governments, nonprofits, individuals and families a broad array of integrated legal and business services in over 55 areas, including highly complex litigation involving competition issues. With Michigan roots for 158 years and a global reach for two decades, the firm has more than 370 lawyers throughout offices in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Poland and China. For more information, visit www.millercanfield.com.