Court Denies Sky Angel Request for Pre-Complaint Discovery

A D.C. District Court Judge has denied Sky
Angel's request for early discovery related to the identity and conduct of C-SPAN's board of
directors prior to refiling its complaint against the cable public affairs
network for dropping the IP-delivered version of its programming service.

Last month, the
court dismissed over-the-top video provider Sky Angel's antitrust suit againstC-SPAN,
but did so without prejudice and signaled that Sky Angel could re-file its
complaint, which it signaled it would do.

Sky Angel then asked
the court to allow it to conduct "limited" discovery before it
refiles the complaint in order to take up to six depositions from C-SPAN board members to
determine "the means by which C-SPAN's Board of
Directors authorized C-SPAN to block Sky Angel
from carrying its programming, the identity of the actors involved, and the
identity of any individual(s) interceding on behalf of any third parties to
alter C-SPAN's formal business arrangement with Sky

Judge Rudolph
Contreras denied the request. "[A]lthough Sky Angel appears certain that
C-SPAN's sudden termination of the IPTV Agreement
could only have come about as a result of foul play, see Pl.'s Mem. P. & A.
Supp. Mot. Disc. (Dkt. No. 11-1) at 5-6, the Court notes the speculative nature
of that assertion and declines to depart from the normal order of discovery in
order to indulge Sky Angel's theory at this stage," he wrote.

He also pointed out
that Sky Angel had conceded itself the Discovery was not necessary, saying it
would amend the complaint without it based on additional information it already
had. In that case, he said, the burden and expense it would "inflict"
on C-SPAN and third parties would not outweigh the

Sky Angel's amended
complaint is due Aug. 5.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.