Suing the messenger?


TransMedia Group, a PR firm based in Boca Raton, FL, claims it is David being sued by Goliath, Westwood One, for $42 million. The issue? WW1 charges that a news release that TransMedia Group issued for its client, Pompano Helicopters, contained false and inaccurate information that causes WW1’s stock price to fall – by $42 million.

“We trust the court will recognize this for what it is and drop our firm as a defendant as we’re merely the messenger here,” said TransMedia Group founder and Chairman Thomas Madden, a former NBC executive. He insisted that the release his company distributed accurately reported what its client, Pompano Helicopters, alleged in its lawsuit against Westwood One.

As RBR/TVBR reported in April, a federal judge threw out three of the counts that Pompano Helicopters brought against Westwood One. But the release from Pompano Helicopters stated only that the judge had refused to dismiss the case completely. And it claimed that the lawsuit was for $362 million, possibly rising to over $400 million if punitive damages are awarded.

Westwood One’s release noted that the only count actually stating damages was for $6 million – and that was one of the three that had been dismissed. It said the remaining counts did not state a claim for actual damages, except for stating that, in the aggregate, they sought in excess of $60 million in compensatory damages.

The lawsuit by Pompano Helicopters against Westwood One is still pending in federal court. TransMedia Group said the lawsuit that Westwood One has now filed against it is in a Florida state court.

A Westwood One spokesman told RBR/TVBR the company would have no comment on the latest developments.

RBR/TVBR observation: With the constant parade of news releases we view every day, we do remember that day in April, with Westwood One racing to get out its own release to counter what the release from Pompano Helicopters had stated. Rather than suffering any setback, Westwood One insisted that it was the one who had triumphed in court. But the damage had already been done on Wall Street, where its stock plunged 16.7% for the day.