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Plunkett Cooney assists Valassis in obtaining $500 million settlement with News America


Plunkett Cooney recently assisted its client Valassis Communications, Inc. in ending its long-standing legal dispute with News America, Inc., a part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation.

Just three days before the scheduled start of a jury trial in U.S. Federal Court in Detroit, the case was resolved under the terms of a comprehensive settlement agreement, which requires News America to pay Valassis $500 million and to enter into a 10-year shared mail distribution agreement.

The settlement agreement successfully concludes litigation initiated by Valassis in 2006, claiming unfair competition and tortious interference by its competitor News America. The initial case was divided into three separate cases, the first of which ended in July 2009 after an eight-week jury trial before the Honorable Michael F. Sapala in Wayne County Circuit Court in which the jury awarded Valassis compensatory damages of $300 million.

In that case, Anthony J. Rusciano, who is one of Plunkett Cooney’s most experienced trial attorneys, was responsible for coordinating jury selection, presenting the opening and closing statements to the jury and examining a key plaintiff witness in the case.

The Valassis legal team also included attorneys David Mendelson, Julie Lyons-Kosovec and Henry Baskin as well as Miller Canfield attorneys Gregory L. Curtner, A. Michael Palizzi, Robert Wierenga and Kimberly L. Scott. The attorneys were assisted by an extensive litigation support team, which included, among others, Plunkett Cooney Paralegal Deanna McDermott and the firm’s Litigation Support Manager.

Included in the recent $500 million federal court settlement is the $300 million awarded in the Wayne County case. 

Plunkett Cooney’s Business and Commercial Litigation Practice Group members represent a range of clients in litigation, arbitration and other forms of alternative dispute resolution concerning matters that arise while conducting business. Their clients are “Fortune 500” companies, state and federal financial institutions, small-and medium-size limited liability companies, corporations, partnerships, sole-proprietorships and even individuals.

Each of Plunkett Cooney’s attorneys offer distinct areas of expertise in such matters as contract cases, business torts, real estate disputes, business ownership conflicts, bankruptcy, antitrust claims, corporate compliance issues, tax and finance issues, commercial collections, commercial landlord tenant, civil RICO, ERISA, intellectual property claims and many other areas.

Established in 1913, Plunkett Cooney employs more than 150 attorneys in nine Michigan cities, Columbus, Ohio and Indianapolis, Indiana. The firm has achieved the highest rating (AV) awarded by Martindale-Hubbell, a leading, international directory of law firms and has received several awards naming the firm a top place to work in the legal industry.

For more information about Plunkett Cooney’s involvement in the $500 million Valassis settlement with News America, contact the firm’s Practice Development Manager John Cornwell at (248) 901-4008.


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