Coblentz congratulates DISH Network L.L.C. and Richard Patch, Jon Bass, Lauren Kowal, Rees Morgan, Katharine Van Dusen, and Mark Hejinian on the recent announcement that the Eighth Circuit unequivocally ruled in DISH Network's favor in the Stokes, et al. v. DISH Network L.L.C. and Padberg v. DISH Network L.L.C. cases. The two cases, filed in the Western District of Missouri and assigned to the same judge, involved the temporary loss of programming to customers during programmer disputes at the time of renewal of the affiliation agreements. This is the first clear appellate court decision speaking directly to the potential class-wide exposure to cable and satellite companies for these temporary interruptions.
In the 2014 Padberg matter, the firm defended DISH in a jury trial of a nationwide class action to a very favorable jury verdict which was subsequently set aside by the district court. The Stokes matter involved the same kind of takedown of programming two years after the Padberg dispute. The Eighth Circuit determined that the trial court erred in refusing to grant DISH's motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim.