Jury selection began yesterday in the San Francisco Guardian’s lawsuit against the owner of the SF Weekly, the 16-paper New Times Media chain based in Phoenix. Guardian owner Bruce Brugmann (left) claims that the chain has been selling ads at below cost in order to take business away from his paper. If true, such a practice (called predatory pricing) is illegal under both federal and state law. New Times is owned by Jim Larkin (blue sports coat) and Michael Lacey (white jacket).
“Lil Mike” of SF Metroblogs has this take on the trial. He says Brugmann won a $500,000 settlement in 1970 from the San Francisco Newspaper Agency, the business arm of the Chron-Examiner monopoly in those days. He also says another paper, The SF Daily, is accusing a competitor of predatory pricing as well.
The SF Weekly posted this story, which claims a Guardian witness changed his story on the eve of the trial. Here’s the Guardian’s preview, which notes the trial before Superior Court Judge Marla Miller is expected to last from four to six weeks. (Photo credits: Brugmann from SFPPC file, New Times owners from Phoenix New Times, Giulio Sciorio)