Brian L. Buckley (State Bar Number 116709)
11661 San Vincente Boulevard
Suite 820
Los Angeles, California 90049
Telephone: (310) 207-4224
Fax: (310) 820-1287

Attorneys for Plaintiff
Voice of Citizens Together,
a California corporation

 

SUPERIOR COURT OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
FOR THE COUNTY OF LOS ANGELES

VOICE OF CITIZENS TOGETHER
d.b.a. American Patrol,
a California corporation,

 

Plaintiff,
vs.

THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, a
Delaware corporation; THE DAILY NEWS
a Delaware corporation,
and DOES 1 through 20, inclusive,

 

Defendants.

 

________________________________________
)))
)
)
))))))))
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
)
CASE NO.:

 

COMPLAINT



1) BREACH OF WRITTEN CONTRACT
2) SPECIFIC PERFORMANCE;
3) DECLARATORY RELIEF
4) INTENTIONAL MISREPRESENTATION
5) NEGLIGENT MISREPRESENTATION
6) TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE WITH WRITTEN CONTRACT
7) TORTIOUS INTERFERENCE WITH PROSPECTIVE ECONOMIC ADVANTAGE
8) BREACH OF IMPLIED COVENANT OF GOOD FAITH AND FAIR DEALING

 

 

COMPLAINT

 

COMPLAINT

 

 

Plaintiff, VOICE OF CITIZENS TOGETHER, hereinafter ( "Plaintiff") alleges as follows:
PARTIES

1. Plaintiff, Voice of Citizens Together is, and at all times relevant hereto was, a corporation organized under the laws of the State of California, and is doing business in Los Angeles County, State of California.
2. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that Defendant Los Angeles Times ("the Times") is, and at all times relevant hereto was, a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware with its principal place of business in Los Angeles, California
3. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis allege, that Defendant the Daily News ("the Daily News") is, and at all times relevant hereto was, a corporation organized and existing under the laws of the State of Delaware with its principal place of business in Woodland Hills, California.

4. Plaintiff is ignorant of the true names and capacities of the defendants sued herein as Does 1-100, inclusive, and therefore sues these defendants by these fictitious names. Plaintiff will amend this Complaint to state the true names and capacities of these Doe defendants once ascertained.
5. Plaintiff is ignorant of the true names and capacities of defendants sued herein as Doe corporations One through Ten, inclusive, and therefore sues these defendants by such fictitious names. Plaintiff will amend this complaint to allege their true names and capacities when ascertained.
6. At all times relevant, each of the Defendants has been, and is now, the agent or employee of the remaining Defendants, and each was acting the scope or course of such agency or employmen

VENUE
7. All parties are residents of the County of Los Angeles, State of California, and maintain their principal places of business in said County.

FACTUAL STATEMENT
8. American Patrol is a d.b.a. of VCT. VCT is a group devoted to public advocacy of certain issues of interest to the various members.
9. Since 1994 VCT has run numerous advertisements in Defendants Los Angeles Times and the Daily News as well as other newspapers for the purpose of informing and educating the voting public on various issues including illegal immigration. Prior to May 2001 none of the Defendants have ever refused a paid advertisement from Plaintiff. The Times has, however, made it extremely difficult to place advertisements in that newspaper by requiring unreasonable documentation and reviews by their legal department.
10. In its editorials and news reporting, the Times is opposed to many of the positions advocated by Plaintiff, particularly as those positions with issues involving illegal immigration.
11. On April 10, 2001, Antonio Villaraigosa won the plurality of votes in the mayoral primary for the office of mayor of City of Los Angeles.
12. On April 18, 2001, as part of its attempt to persuade the voters of the city of Los Angeles not to elect Villaraigosa as mayor, Plaintiff posted a first draft of a proposed advertisement concerning Villaraigosa on the Internet for the purposes of public comment, and to solicit funds to pay for the proposed advertisements in the Times and the Daily News.
13. On April 25, 2001, the Plaintiff contacted defendant Daily News to run the advertisement. The Daily News wished to see the proposed advertisement which was sent to them by Plaintiff. The Daily News agreed to run the advertisement in their paper on Sunday, May 6, 2001 for a fee of $9,752.40. This sum was transferred to the Daily News by a cashier's check, and negotiated by it.
14. On April 26, 2001, Plaintiff contacted the Los Angeles Times for the purpose of placing the same advertisement with them for the same day. In keeping with its policy of obstructing the placement of advertisements in its paper which are contrary to its editorial position, the Plaintiff was informed that the advertisement had to be referred to the Times' legal department. In spite of various inquiries to the Times, no response was ever received concerning Plaintiff's wish to place an advertisement in that paper.
15. On May 3, 2001, Plaintiff issued a press release concerning the upcoming advertisement in the Daily News.
16. Also on May 3, 2001, a letter was received from the Los Angeles Times demanding that the advertisement in the Daily News not be published. A true copy is attached hereto as Exhibit 1, and incorporated herein by reference.
17. On May 4, 2001, the Daily News informed plaintiff that the advertisement must be withdrawn as submitted. No explanation for this action was given, and defendant Daily News was not able at that point to provide any suggestions about a revision of the advertisement which would have made it acceptable to them. The Daily News later agreed to make suggestions as to how the advertisement might be rewritten, and to transmit the suggestions to the Plaintiff, but as of this date has not done so.
18. Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that the actions of the Daily News described herein above were a result of actions of the Los Angeles Times.

CLAIMS FOR RELIEF
FIRST CAUSE OF ACTION
(Breach of Contract - Against Defendant Daily News)

19. Plaintiff refers to and incorporates herein Paragraphs 1 through 18 of this Complaint as though set forth in full hereat.
20. On or about April 24, 2001, Plaintiff and Defendant Daily News entered into an oral contract for the publication by the Daily News of an advertisement funded by Plaintiff. In consideration of the sum of $ $9, 752.40 the Daily News agreed to publish the Plaintiff's advertisement. A true copy of the proposed advertisement is attached hereto as Exhibit 2, and incorporated herein by reference.
21. Plaintiff has performed all covenants and conditions required of it under the subject contract, including delivery to the Daily News of the advertisement, and a cashier's check in the amount of $9, 752.40
22. On or about May 4, 2001, after the Times had threatened action against the Plaintiff, the Daily News breached the contract in that it refused to run the advertisement.
23. Defendant has failed and refused, and continues to fail and refuse, to run Plaintiff's advertisement despite demands by the Plaintiff to do so.
24. As a proximate result of Defendant Daily New's failure and refusal as herein alleged, Plaintiff has been damaged in a sum according to proof at time of trial.
SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION
(Specific Performance By Plaintiff - Against Defendant Daily News)
25. Plaintiff re-alleges and incorporates each allegation of paragraphs 1 through 24 above, as though fully set forth herein.
26. Plaintiff has performed all conditions, covenants and promises to be performed on its part in accordance with the terms and conditions of the contract, except to the extent said performance has been excused or rendered impossible by Defendants.
27. As a proximate result of these breaches by said Defendants, Plaintiff has suffered damages in an amount according to proof at time of trial. However, Plaintiff has no adequate legal remedy in that their damages cannot be properly ascertained such that any damage award will be inadequate to compensate Plaintiff for the harm they have suffered. Accordingly, Plaintiff requests that Defendant Daily News be ordered to, inter alia, specifically perform its duties and obligations under the contract.
///
///
THIRD CAUSE OF ACTION
(Declaratory Relief By Plaintiff
Against Defendant Daily News)
28. Plaintiff refers to and herein incorporate Paragraphs 1through 27 of this Complaint as though set forth in full hereat.
29. On or about April 24, 2001, the Daily News, by its duly authorized agents, entered into a contract with Plaintiff for the publication of an advertisement to be published in the Daily News's edition on May 6, 2001.
30. There presently exists a controversy between Plaintiff, on the one hand, and Defendant Daily News, on the other hand, regarding their respective rights and liabilities in connection with the contract. In particular, Plaintiff contends that the contract obligated and required the Daily News to publish Plaintiff's advertisement as it had agreed to do, and, that Defendant Daily News denies any such obligation
31. Accordingly, a declaration by this Court is necessary to determine the rights and obligations existing between Plaintiff and Defendant Daily News with regard to the subject contract.
FOURTH CAUSE OF ACTION
(Intentional Misrepresentation To Plaintiff - Against Defendant Daily News)
32. Plaintiff re-alleges and incorporates the allegations of paragraphs 1 through 31 above, as though fully set forth herein.
33. In connection with the contract, Defendant Daily News represented to Plaintiff that it would honor its obligations under the contract including, without limitation, the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing.
34. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that the foregoing representations by said Defendant to Plaintiff were in fact false. Plaintiff is further informed and believes, and on that basis allege, that the true facts were that said Defendant did not intend to honor its obligations under the contract.
35. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that when said Defendant made the above-stated representations to Plaintiff, said Defendant knew them to be false and made them with the malicious intent to deceive and defraud Plaintiff and to induce Plaintiff to act in reliance on these representations, or with the expectation that Plaintiff would so act.
36. Plaintiff was ignorant of the falsity of said Defendant's representations and believed them to be true. In reliance on these representations, Plaintiff was induced to and did in fact enter into the contract with the good faith belief that it would be allowed to express its opinion on an issue of public interest, namely the election for the mayor of Los Angeles, and, through its advertisement in the Daily News to reach many voters and attempt to persuade them to oppose the candidacy of Antonio Villareroisa.
37. Had Plaintiff known the true facts, they would not have taken such actions. Plaintiff's reliance on said Defendant's representations was justifiable because Plaintiff had no reason to believe said Defendant was not telling Plaintiff the truth.
38. As a proximate result of said Defendants' representations to Plaintiff, Plaintiff has suffered general and special damages in an amount in to be proven at time of trial. Plaintiff will, if necessary, amend this Complaint to allege the exact amount of said damages once ascertained.
39. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis allege, that the aforementioned conduct by said Defendants was willful and malicious in that, inter alia, said Defendants acted with the deliberate intent to injure Plaintiff and thereby benefit itself. Plaintiff is therefore entitled to punitive damages.
40. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis allege, that the aforementioned conduct by Defendant Daily News was willful and malicious in that the Daily News acted with the deliberate intent to injure Plaintiff and thereby benefit itself. Plaintiff is therefore entitled to punitive damages.
FIFTH CAUSE OF ACTION
(Negligent Misrepresentation To Plaintiff - Against Defendant Daily News)
41. Plaintiff re-alleges and incorporates the allegations of paragraphs 1 through 39 above, as though fully set forth herein.
42. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis allege, that said Defendant made the above-stated representations with no factual basis for believing them to be true and acted with reckless disregard of consequences to Plaintiff so as to induce Plaintiff to act in reliance on these representations and/or with the expectation that Plaintiff would so act.
43. Plaintiff was ignorant of the falsity of said Defendant's representations and believed them to be true. In reliance on these representations, Plaintiff was induced to and did in fact contract with Defendant Daily News to run its advertisement in said newspaper.
44. Had Plaintiff known the true facts, they would not have taken such action. Plaintiff' reliance on said Defendant's representations was justifiable because Plaintiff had no reason to believe said Defendant was not telling them the truth and/or were making the representations to Plaintiff recklessly and negligently.
45. As a proximate result of said Defendant's representations to Plaintiff, Plaintiff suffered damages (including, inter alia, emotional distress) in an amount to be proved at time of trial. Plaintiff will, if necessary, amend this Complaint to allege the exact amount of their damages once ascertained.
SIXTH CAUSE OF ACTION
(Tortuous Interference with Written Contract - Against Defendant Los Angeles Times)
46. Plaintiff re-alleges and incorporates the allegations of paragraphs 1 through 44 above, as though fully set forth herein.
47. Plaintiff is informed and believes and thereon alleges that Defendant Los Angeles Times was aware of the advertisement which, pursuant to the contract as aforesaid, the Daily News had agreed and covenanted to run in its May 6, 2001 edition. The advertisement was contrary to the editorial position of the Los Angeles Times.
48. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that Defendant Los Angeles Times purposefully, knowingly, and maliciously interfered with and/or otherwise disrupted the above-stated contractual relationships by encouraging the Daily News to breach its obligations to Plaintiff.
49. The Los Angeles Times' conduct as detailed above in fact disrupted otherwise interfered with the above-stated contractual relationships, as well as Plaintiff's ability to exercise its rights under the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
50. As a proximate result the conduct of the Los Angeles Times, Plaintiff suffered damages in an amount to be proven at time of trial in an amount in excess of the jurisdictional limit of this Court. Plaintiff will, if necessary, amend this Complaint to allege the exact amount of said damages once ascertained.
51. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis allege, that the aforementioned conduct by Defendant Los Angeles Times was willful and malicious in that the Times acted with the deliberate intent to injure Plaintiff and thereby benefit himself. Plaintiff is therefore entitled to punitive damages.
SEVENTH CAUSE OF ACTION
(Tortuous Interference with Prospective Economic Advantage
by Plaintiff- Against All Defendants)
52. Plaintiff reallege and incorporate the allegations of paragraphs 1 through 50 above, as though fully set forth herein.
53. At the time of the execution of the contracts knew that Plaintiff had personal and business relationships in the California political community.
54. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis allege, that Defendants, through their actions as detailed above, engaged in malicious, tortuous and/or otherwise inappropriate behavior with respect to these people and/or entities with whom Plaintiff had the above-stated relationships with the express purpose and malicious motive of embarrassing Plaintiff and/or otherwise destroying these relationships.
55. Defendants' conduct as stated above, in fact otherwise interfered with Plaintiff's above-stated relationships and credibility all to the detriment of Plaintiff's reputation and credibility.
56. As a proximate result of the Defendants conduct as described above, Plaintiff suffered damages in an amount to be proven at time of trial. Plaintiff will, if necessary, amend this Complaint to allege the exact amount of said damages once ascertained
57. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis allege, that the aforementioned conduct by Defendant Los Angeles Times was willful and malicious in that, inter alia, Defendant Los Angeles Times acted with the deliberate intent to injure Plaintiff and thereby benefit themselves. Plaintiff is therefore entitled to punitive damages.
TWENTY-SECOND CAUSE OF ACTION
(Breach of Implied Covenant of Good Faith and Fair
Dealing - Against Defendant Daily News)
58. Plaintiff re-alleges and incorporates the allegations of paragraphs 1 through 56 above, as though fully set forth herein.
59. On or about April 24, 2001, Defendant Daily News entered into an oral contract with Plaintiff.
60. Following the contract Defendant Daily News refused to place Plaintiff's advertisement in its paper as it had agreed to do. Further, by such a breach of the contract, Defendant Daily News, inter alia, stopped the plaintiff from exercising its First Amendment right to express its opinion on the Los Angeles mayoral race, and damaged the Plaintiff's reputation in the community.
61. Plaintiff is informed and believes, and on that basis alleges, that by doing the aforementioned acts, Defendant Daily News breached its contract with Plaintiff, including, inter alia, the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing inherent therein.
62. Plaintiff performed all of their duties and obligations under its contract with Defendant Daily News, except to the extent said performance was excused and/or rendered impossible by said Defendant.
63. As a proximate result of Defendant Daily News' conduct as detailed above, Plaintiff suffered damages in an amount to be proven at time of trial. Plaintiff will, if necessary, amend this Complaint to allege the exact amount of said damages once ascertained.

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, Plaintiff prays for judgment against Defendants, and each of them as follows:

1. For general damages in accordance with proof at trial;
2. For special damages in accordance with proof at trial;
3. For punitive damages in accordance with proof at trial;
4. For attorney's fees as allowed by law and/or contract;
5. For costs of suit herein incurred; and
6. For such other and further relief as the Court may deem proper.

Dated: May 9, 2001

 

LAW OFFICES OF BRIAN L. BUCKLEY


Brian L. Buckley


Back to previous page | Archived Items | Home