Village Voice Media loses in San Francisco

The Bay Guardian won its predatory pricing lawsuit against the SF Weekly, receiving about $15 million in trebled damages. Longtime BAG owner Bruce Brugmann had accused the New Times boys of coming in, undercutting ad rates and propping up SF Weekly in an effort to drive the Guardian out of business. Here's the Guardian's take, including some snark about VVM's Mike Lacey leaving the courtroom.

The Guardian produced extensive evidence that the Weekly and VVM were trying to injury [sic] the local competitor, including three witnesses who testified that they heard Mike Lacey, one of the two principals of New Times, vow to put the Guardian out of business.

The evidence produced also showed numerous internal emails discussing the Weekly’s battle plans to take ads away from the Guardian.

The VVM/New Times side vows to appeal at the SF Weekly blog:

Today's verdict in Bruce Brugmann's suit was an expensive lesson in laws, lawyers, and lawsuits, and how one man's obsession manipulated the system.

Like Ralph Nader, Bruce Brugmann is out of touch with reality. Feigning obliviousness to the Internet, the dot-com bust, 9/11, the Bush economy — and the $330 million lost by the San Francisco Chronicle to these very factors — Brugmann insisted in court that only SF Weekly threatened his wallet.

Jurors agreed and hit Village Voice Media with more than $15.6 million in damages. Brugmann thus earned in court more than he ever earned in 40 years of publishing.

Instead of competing in the marketplace, Brugmann sought a court-ordered price-fixing scheme. He wants mom-and-pop advertisers to pay higher rates to underwrite a paper that Media Audit shows is losing readers. It is small wonder that after more than four decades as a publisher in San Francisco, not a single advertiser testified on Brugmann’s behalf.

More over there. The item is unsigned but refers inquiries to Lacey.

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