LOS ANGELES-Hispanic Newspapers Network is suing Ogilvy & Mather, J. Walter Thompson, Young & Rubicam and WPP Group for violations of restraint-of-trade. The network is asking for damages of just under $1 billion.
"They're fed up," says Stephen T. Mitchell, the HNN's lawyer. "They feel they've been denied their fair share."
The action alleges that the agencies are engaged in "discriminatory and biased media selection practices" on spending for government accounts including Y&R clients U.S. Army, U.S. Census and U.S. Postal Service, Ogilvy's White House Anti-Drug Policy and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and JWT's U.S. Marines. The suit contends the newspapers in the network have suffered injuries of at least $300 million, "which amount should be trebled according to law."
The suit, filed Aug. 2 in United States District Court in New York, contends that the Hispanic papers have been treated as a "separate and unequal" media category. In total, the litigation contends, the government accounts spent just under $700 million on media, but less than $1 million in Hispanic newspapers.
The Van Nuys, Calif.-based Hispanic Newspaper Network claims 14 member newspapers around the country with an audited weekly circulation of more than 2.2 million and total readership in excess of 8 million.
Jack Feuer, ADWEEK. August 4, 2000
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