PPM is still keeping lawyers at work


It has been 10 months since Arbitron settled with the PPM Coalition and satisfied Members of Congress with enhancements to ensure proper minority recruitment for People Meter (PPM) panels. But even now there are several court cases still hanging on.

Arbitron updated the status of litigation in its annual 10-K filing with the SEC for calendar year 2010.

The last of the four lawsuits over PPM filed by various state attorneys general, which was the one in Florida, is still active. Arbitron has filed its response to the AG’s claim of consumer fraud for the marketing and commercialization of PPM in the Miami market. In the meantime, November’s election changed the occupant of the Florida AG’s office, but the lawsuit goes on. It seeks damages of $10K per alleged violation and an order barring Arbitron from publishing PPM listening estimates in Florida.

The earlier legal battling with AGs in New York, New Jersey and Maryland all led to settlements. However, deadlines in New York and New Jersey settlements for Arbitron to achieve Media Rating Council accreditation for PPM ratings in those states have long since past. Arbitron says it cannot provide any assurance that the AGs won’t reinstitute the litigation, but that the company is taking “all reasonable measures” to comply with the settlement agreements.

Even before the AG run-ins there were two purported class action shareholder lawsuits filed over the delay in PPM commercialization, claiming that company management misled investors who lost money when the stock price fell. The PPM roll-out is now complete, the stock price is back up, but the lawsuits drag on.

Oh, and there’s also a lawsuit active over ownership of one of the PPM patents. So, the lawyers are still busy at Arbitron.