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NY court orders NDTV to file revised lawsuit; WPP, Nielsen dismissal motions to be heard on 14 Dec

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MUMBAI: After a ding-dong battle between news broadcaster NDTV and global advertising major WPP, there is finally something one gets to hear from the New York Supreme Court which will decide the outcome of the legal dispute.

The New York Supreme Court has ordered New Delhi Television Ltd (NDTV) to file and serve its amended complaint (lawsuit) against television ratings provider TAM Media Research, its owners Nielsen and Kantar and their associate companies by 5 October 2012.

The court order follows a court-conducted conference call on 31 August between counsels for NDTV, WPP and Kantar (the defendants who have filed for dismissal of the lawsuit filed on July 26), and Nielsen.

The conference call was held pursuant to a letter application by NDTV requesting a conference with the court to set forth an appropriate schedule for the motions to dismiss by WPP, the intended motions to dismiss to be filed by the Nielsen defendants and the intended amended complaint to be filed by NDTV.

During the conference call, counsel for NDTV indicated that the broadcaster will investigate whether or not Kantar, IMRB and JWT (WPP group companies) have been improperly named in its lawsuit, as per the claim made by WPP in its petition to dismiss the lawsuit.

NDTV has filed the lawsuit alleging that TAM and its owners knowingly allowed manipulation of ratings data to favour channels that offered bribes. In response to this, WPP which owns half of TAM through its companies Kantar and Cavendish B V, filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit on grounds of invalid jurisdiction on 28 August.

The dismissal motions of both Nielsen and WPP groups will be heard on 14 December 2012.

Having considered all of the papers and arguments regarding the scheduling disputes, the New York court ordered that:

1. NDTV file and serve its Amended Complaint on or before October 5, 2012, via electronic filing.

2. The Moving Defendants file and serve their supplemental motion papers responding to the Amended Complaint, if any, on or before October 19, 2012, via electronic filing.

3. The Nielsen Defendants file and serve the Nielsen Motions to Dismiss on or before October 19, 2012, via electronic filing.

4. NDTV file and serve its opposition papers to the Motions to Dismiss and the Nielsen Motions to Dismiss on or before November 16, 2012, via electronic filing.

5. The Moving Defendants file and serve their reply papers regarding the Motions to Dismiss on or before December 7, 2012, via electronic filing.

6. The Nielsen Defendants file and serve their reply papers regarding the Nielsen Motions to Dismiss on or before December 7, 2012, via electronic filing.

7. The return date for the Motions to Dismiss is adjourned until December 14, 2012.

8. The return date for the Nielsen Motions to Dismiss shall be December 14, 2012.

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