BREAKING NEWS: WOIO Fires Back – In Court

This just in…

Raycom Media’s WOIO/19 has sued the Cleveland Browns for trying to get out of the team’s contract with the local CBS affiliate.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer’s news blog reports that WOIO says it “did nothing to warrant” the termination of a three-year, $4 million contract which is entering its second year. The station has also asked a judge to block the Browns from terminating the contract, and asks for unspecified damages.

For the team’s part, a Browns official wrote in his July 13th letter to the TV station that the contract was being terminated because of “repeated instances where WOIO news staff stepped well outside any legitimate boundary of responsible journalism”, and that Channel 19 aired “sensationalized, overtly negative reporting on the organization and its players.”

Browns VP Mike Keenan says “19 Action News”‘ airing of a 911 call involving family members of owner Randy Lerner “irreparably ruptured” the team’s relationship with WOIO.

The Plain Dealer reports that the contract does have an escape clause allowing it to be terminated “for cause”, such as:

“…conduct by one party, its employees or representatives which substantially alters the aggrieved party’s ability to benefit from this agreement.”

It’s now up to Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Timothy McMonagle to decide if that means the contract can be voided…

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