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Small world: Lawyer leading class-action suit against Cablevision has old ties to News Corp.

October 28, 2010 | 11:54 am

The lawyer behind a $450-million class-action lawsuit against Cablevision Systems Corp. has old ties to News Corp. and Fox Broadcasting.

Todd J. Krouner, a Chappaqua, N.Y.-based lawyer with his own practice, who filed a suit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of Cablevision subscribers Julia Gallo, Andrew Koplik and Dorothy Rabsey, helped with the birth of the Fox Network over a quarter of a century ago.

On Krouner's website, he notes that "as a corporate associate at Squadron, Ellenoff, Plesent & Sheinfeld, he worked on the acquisition of the Fox Television Networks for Rupert Murdoch."

In an interview, Krouner didn't back away from his previous association with Murdoch and Fox, but also said he hasn't had any dealings with them in over two decades.

"I had the privlege to work on the project that led to the birth of the Fox television network ... since that time I've had nothing to do News Corp. or Fox TV," he said.

A Cablevision subscriber, Krouner said it is "just outrageous" that Cablevision is refusing to pay News Corp. for Fox content while at the same it "refuses to rebate its customers" for the programming they are missing.

As for the issues keeping the two sides apart -- including how Fox wants to package various channels versus what Cablevision wants to carry, Krouner says that although there is an "interesting debate at some level between media titans ... I don't think the Cablevision customers care very much. They are paying for content and they are not getting that content."

Cablevision has indicated it will reimburse its subscribers for the costs of purchasing a package from Major League Baseball to watch the World Series, but it has not said it will offer any other refunds. The company is starting to get heat on that, and even the FCC is considering whether to weigh in on the refund issue.

Krouner is not the only lawyer looking to make a case out of the Fox-Cablevision feud. Another class -action suit has been filed on behalf of Cablevision subscribers in the Supreme Court for the State of New York in Nassau County on Long Island. One of the lawyers working on that suit -- David Miller of the Law Office of Michael C. Rakower -- used to work at Hogan & Hartson, the powerhouse law firm that has a long relationship with News Corp. However, in an interview Miller said to the best of his recollection he's never done any work for Fox or News Corp. Another law firm, Stamell & Schager, LLP, is also involved in the suit.

-- Joe Flint

For the record: An earlier version of this post said there were two lawyers working on the class action suit filed on behalf of Cablevision subscribers in the Supreme Court for the State of New York in Nassau County on Long Island. There are three lawyers at two law firms.

Related posts:

Fox says no to Cablevision's latest offer

Cablevision makes Fox offer it hopes it can't refuse

Bundling is key part of Fox - Cablevision fight

Cablevision CEO wants sitdown with FCC

Fox and Cablevision take fight to FCC

FCC wants proof Fox and Cablevision are trying to make a deal

One reason Fox is unwilling to arbitrate its differences with Cablevision

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