Las Vegas Review-Journal lawyer promises appeal in joint operation dispute with Las Vegas Sun

IndustriesAssociated Press

A lawyer for owners of the Las Vegas Review-Journal newspaper told a Nevada judge on Tuesday that her decision to hear a profit-sharing dispute with crosstown rival and joint-operating partner the Las Vegas Sun will be appealed.

Review-Journal attorney Steve Morris told Clark County District Court Judge Elizabeth Gonzalez that arbitration, not judicial review, is specified under a 2005 amendment to a joint-operating agreement governing how the two newspapers are published together.

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Gonzalez said she expected her ruling would be appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court. She canceled a hearing that had been scheduled next week on a Sun request to find in its favor.

Sun owner Brian Greenspun and attorney Leif Reid said outside court that they're confident the seven-member state high court will uphold Gonzalez' finding that arbitration isn't appropriate.

They contend the Review-Journal improperly deducted editorial costs before paying monthly profit shares to Greenspun Media Group.

The Sun argues the amount in question totals at least $6 million over 10 years of business with former Review-Journal owner Stephens Media. The Review-Journal is now owned by Pittsford, New York-based Gatehouse Media.

Morris pointed Tuesday to decreased revenue and an increased pace of change in the newspaper industry during the last 10 years. He said the agreement gives the two newspapers responsibility for their own news operations.

The rival newspapers have separate editorial staffs but combine advertising, publishing and distribution. The Sun appears as a daily section inserted in the Review-Journal.

The joint-operating agreement was first signed in 1989 and runs through Dec. 31, 2040. It is overseen by the U.S. Justice Department.

Morris is married to Supreme Court Justice Kristina Pickering. She would be expected to recuse herself from hearing an appeal.