Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Second Circuit Remands With Order to Dismiss In Tribune Television Case

The Second Circuit has vacated a lower court's ruling in the case of Ellis v. Tribune Television and ordered the matter dismissed. Neil Ellis, a real estate developer, had gone to court to enforce an FCC order in the case: Tribune TV owned newspapers and tv stations in the same market. A lower court agreed with him, granting his request for summary judgment in 2005.  The Second Circuit, however, found that "the district court erred in failing to recognize the FCC's primary jurisdiction in this matter. Where a district court fails to recognize an agency's primary jurisdiction, we may instruct the district court to hold further proceedings in abeyance pending referral to the agency rather than to dismiss an action....However, while the district court's retaining jurisdiction may have been a conceivable option prior to the FCC's 2005 Order, we agree with the FCC that there is no longer any useful purpose that would be served by remanding the case to the district court....The FCC's 2005 Order extending Tribune's waiver until early 2007 has addressed and resolved the issues that the district court should have referred to the FCC under the primary jurisdiction doctrine. Accordingly, we VACATE the district court's judgment and REMAND the case with directions to dismiss."

Read the Second Circuit's opinion here. Docket no. 05-1983.

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