SALT LAKE CITY — The publishers of the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune are asking a federal judge to toss a lawsuit filed against them over the future of the Tribune.
In court filings late Monday, the Deseret News Publishing Company and Tribune publisher Kearns-Tribune, LLC asked for the Utah Newspaper Project’s lawsuit to be dismissed.
“This is a most unusual antitrust case,” lawyers for the newspaper owners said in the court filing.
Read the filing here:
Lawyers argued that there is no evidence the Tribune would fold under the new terms of a joint-publishing agreement.
“Plaintiff alleges no facts to support its mere supposition that, absent the digital strategy enabled by the 2013 Amended JOA, the Tribune intended or had the means to resume publication as a stand-alone newspaper if and when the JOA expires six years from now,” lawyers wrote. “Whether it would have had the ability to do so before the 2013 amendments, or that it would have been likely to do so, is entirely speculative.”
The publishers attached the Joint Operating Agreements between the Deseret News and the Salt Lake Tribune going back to 1952.
Read the Salt Lake Tribune-Deseret News Joint Operating Agreements here:
The Utah Newspaper Project, also known as Citizens for Two Voices, filed an antitrust lawsuit alleging the new agreement would effectively put the Tribune out of business.
A judge has scheduled a hearing on July 21.
The group has claimed the Justice Department is conducting an antitrust investigation into the new deal. The Utah Attorney General’s Office is also conducting its own investigation.