Monday, November 15, 1999


Monday, November 15, 199
2:30 P.M. HST

'9th Circuit upholds injunction

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals
in San Francisco today unanimously
voted to keep the Star-Bulletin
alive while trials proceed

FULL TEXT of 9th Circuit ruling

By Debra Barayuga


A three-judge panel with the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today upheld a preliminary injunction that prevents the Honolulu Star-Bulletin from shutting down.

"Yes, the 9th Circuit did uphold Judge Kay's injunction," Deputy Attorney General Rodney Kimura said this afternoon.

U.S. District Judge Alan Kay issued the prelminary injunction on Oct. 13 at the request of the state attorney general's office after the owners of the Star-Bulletin announced the 117-year-old newspaper would close on Oct. 30.

Star-Bulletin owner Liberty Newspapers Limited Partnership and The Honolulu Advertiser owner Gannett Co. entered into an agreement Sept. 7 that would have paid Liberty $26.5 million to end their joint operations and would have resulted in the closure of the Star-Bulletin.

The newspaper owners appealed Kay's decision to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, arguing that the First Amendment gives the paper the right to publish or not publish.

In a one-page order, the appeals court ruling unanimously affirmed Kay's decision but did not address the First Amendment issue.

The court said that reversal of the district court order "is appropriate only if the district court based its decision on erroneous legal principles or on clearly erroneous findings. ... It did not."

The ruling leaves the injunction in place until the case goes to trial in Kay's court.

Under scheduling set Nov. 5, the earliest the court will hear the state's arguments for a permanent injunction to keep the Star-Bulletin open is Sept. 19, 2000.


9th Circuit upholds Kay

Associated Press


SAN FRANCISCO -- A federal appeals court refused Monday to let the Honolulu Star-Bulletin shut down while courts consider the state of Hawaii's antitrust suit.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously upheld a federal judge's injunction last month that kept the 117-year-old afternoon newspaper operating.

Gannett Pacific Corp., owner of the morning Honolulu Advertiser, planned to pay the Star-Bulletin's owners $26.5 million to bring an immediate end to their joint operating agreement, which was scheduled to run through 2012.

At that time, the Star-Bulletin's owner planned to halt publication Oct. 30.

The state argued that the $26.5 million was a payment to eliminate competition, in violation of antitrust laws. The U.S. Justice Department has begun its own antitrust investigation and also asked the court to keep the newspaper running while the case is pending.

Owners of the two newspapers were supported by numerous media companies, including The Associated Press, which argued that a court order to keep publishing violated constitutional freedom of the press.

The injunction against closure of the Star-Bulletin was issued Oct. 13 by U.S. District Judge Alan Kay. Citing the public interest in preserving separate editorial voices in Hawaii, he ordered the newspaper owners to take no action that would cause the Star-Bulletin to lose circulation, advertising or standing in the community.

In a brief order, the appeals court said Kay's injunction was not based on mistaken legal principles or clearly erroneous factual findings, and therefore must be upheld. The order was issued by Judges J. Clifford Wallace, Jerome Farris and Thomas Nelson.

The court did not explain its reasoning or discuss legal issues in the case. The ruling leaves the injunction in place until the case goes to trial in Kay's court.


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