Not only do they finally have a jury, lawyers presented opening arguments today in AMC Networks’ $2.5B breech of contract suit against Dish Network. And lawyers representing AMC seemed to draw blood by “repeatedly highlighting Dish’s systematic, bad faith, year-long destruction of evidence during the critical stages of this dispute,” says Susquehanna Financial Group’s Thomas Claps, who’s tracking the proceedings. He says that this “will be impactful in determining the outcome of the case.” The trial will determine whether Dish had the right in 2008 to terminate its 15-year deal to air the VOOM Networks suite of HD channels. The defunct channels, formerly owned by Cablevision, were packaged with AMC when the cable company spun off the network operation this year. Dish’s contract with VOOM required backers to spend at least $100M a year on the channel. The big question is whether spending devoted to overhead and for overseas activities should count. AMC says it should; Dish says it shouldn’t — which would mean VOOM fell short of the $100M threshold. On Monday jurors likely will hear Cablevision founder Chuck Dolan’s side of the story.
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