The state Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to review a $21 million damage award against the SF Weekly and its parent company, Village Voice Media, in a suit brought by the Bay Guardian.
A San Francisco jury in March 2008 found the SF Weekly and VVM slashed advertising prices to drive the Guardian out of business, in violation of state antitrust laws. The defendants lost at the court of appeals and its last hope was the state supreme court. But only Justice Joyce Kennard voted to grant a hearing, three short of the majority needed on the seven-member court.
On its Website, the Guardian posted the following:
- The ruling is a victory not just for the Bay Guardian but for small business across the state. The appellate courts have made it clear that predatory pricing is a violation of law — and the ruling can now be used by any independent merchant fighting big chains. As Ralph Alldredge, one of our lawyers, noted after the Appeals Court ruling: “Think of what that means for big-box retailers, which have used below-cost selling on some products to attract customers away from small, independently owned grocery, hardware, drug, and department stores.”
The Chronicle said the outcome of the case could still be determined by settlement negotiations, which are ongoing. Lawyers for each publication declined comment to the Chonicle on a possible settlement.