Court Sets Length of Oral Argument in Contract Challenge to Mergers

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. circuit has scheduled only 10 minutes per side for the oral argument in program providers' challenge to the FCC's decision to allow a couple hundred third parties to access retrans and other documents in both the proposed Comcast/TWC and AT&T/DirecTV mergers.

Oral argument in the case is scheduled for Feb. 20 at 9:30 a.m.

One attorney familiar with the court suggested that the 10-minute limit – though it is a loose one – meant the court did not think it was a very important case. Another attorney saw it differently, pointing out that the panel gave the same amount of time to all three cases it is hearing on that date. "It seems to just be this panel's approach," he said, "not a unique reflection on the merits or complexity of this case."

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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.