Settlement conference held in contract dispute between news media agencies

By Nicholas Malfitano | Jun 16, 2016

PHILADELPHIA – A settlement conference has been slated for Wednesday in a legal dispute between two news media companies and their related breach of contract litigation.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas Judge Pro Tempore Paul R. Rosen will preside over the conference, slated for Wednesday afternoon in Rosen’s chambers at Philadelphia City Hall.

Former defense counsel Elizabeth S. Gallard of Eckert Seamans Cherin Mellott filed a motion to withdraw appearance on April 13, due to being informed by her client Al Dia Newspapers two days earlier that the news organization intended to use another firm’s legal services. In this e-mail message, Hernan Guaracao of Al Dia stipulated Gallard and her firm were not to undertake further work on their behalf.

Gallard explained a copy of that e-mail was not included in her withdrawal motion due to it containing “privileged information.”

Gallard requested the name of Al Dia’s new counsel, in order to provide them with the case documents gathered to that point, but had not yet received the information. Once the new counsel is identified, Gallard and her firm promised to effectuate transfer of those same case documents.

Judge Patricia A. MacInerney granted Gallard’s withdrawal motion on April 29 and stipulated the defense had 30 days to obtain new counsel, but according to court records, Al Dia has yet to secure new representation in that timeframe or to the present.

The lawsuit alleges Philadelphia Media Network (PMN) and Al Dia entered into a joint venture on April 4, 2014, to produce two newspaper advertising supplements promoting the 2014 World Cup of Football.

In order to substantiate their argument, included as exhibits e-mail conversations between PMN Director of Business Development Ed Lynes and Al Dia employees Michael Days, Kim Parham, Michael Gagliardi, Emily Scully, Sabrina Vourvolias, Yesid Vargas and Gabriela Guaracao, discussing the arrangement.

Pursuant to the terms of the agreement, the revenue breakdown for each of the parties and the advertising supplements in question was structured as follows:

- Full Page: $10,190 ($4,990 to Al Dia / $5,200 to PMN);

- Half Page: $6.200 ($3,040 to Al Dia / $3,160 to PMN); and

- Full Page Premium: $11,715 ($5,715 to Al Dia / $6,000 to PMN).

According to the agreement, Al Dia would handle all centralized invoicing for a supplement and bill clients directly. No later than 60 days after each supplement’s release date, Al Dia would send a check to PMN covering their portion.

PMN says according to the agreement terms, Al Dia is indebted to them for an amount of $56,320, for the cost of advertising which ran with the supplements - $50,000 for Comcast and $3,620 for Schramm Marketing. PMN claims Al Dia received monthly statements of the balance and accepted the same without objection.

PMN is seeking damages of $56,320, plus interest backdated from July 31, 2014 at an annual rate of 6 percent plus costs, on the first count of their complaint. On the second count, PMN believes Al Dia to be liable on several theories of breach of contract and unjust enrichment, and seeks reimbursement of costs.

The plaintiff is represented by James W. Adelman of Morris & Adelman, in Bala Cynwyd.

Philadelphia County Court of Common Pleas case 150102124

From the Pennsylvania Record: Reach Courts Reporter Nicholas Malfitano at

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