Dish Network Appeal Nixed on Missing Evidence

A New York state appeals court today rejected a Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH) appeal that challenged sanctions imposed upon it by a trial court for destroying email evidence.

The trial court judge, Richard Lowe, ruled in a contract lawsuit by Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE:CVC) that EchoStar Satellite LLC (NASDAQ:SATS) “systematically destroyed evidence in direct violation of the law.” The judge intended to advise jurors to assume that the evidence would have been helpful to Cablevision.

In a unanimous appeals court opinion, Justice Sallie Manzanet-Daniels wrote the sanction was “appropriate and proportionate”, and that “although Voom may have other evidence to point to, the missing evidence is from a crucial time period during which EchoStar appears to have been searching for a way out of its contract. Evidence from this vital time period is not entirely duplicative of other evidence.”

The suit was filed by Voom, an erstwhile unit of Cablevision, seeking $2.5 billion in damages from Echostar for violating a distribution agreement that called for it to provide 21 high-definition television channels to Voom.

Craig E. Moffett, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. said in a note to investors that today’s ruling “is a clear negative for Dish Network, and significantly strengthens the hands of AMC (NASDAQ:AMCX) and Cablevision, either in court or in any potential settlement.”

Here’s how these stocks are reacting to the news:

Dish Network Corp. (NASDAQ:DISH): DISH shares recently traded at $28.40, up $0.45, or 1.61%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $20.89 to $32.56. Volume today was 1,072,713 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 3,319,350 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 8.68, while trailing earnings are $3.26 per share.

Cablevision Systems Corporation (NYSE:CVC): CVC shares recently traded at $14.83, up $0.1, or 0.68%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $11.57 to $38.08. Volume today was 558,355 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 3,455,510 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 12.39, while trailing earnings are $1.19 per share.

EchoStar Corp. (NASDAQ:SATS): SATS shares recently traded at $31.45, up $0.62, or 2.01%. They have traded in a 52-week range of $20.83 to $38.47. Volume today was 72,828 shares versus a 3-month average volume of 235,745 shares. The company’s trailing P/E is 14.68, while trailing earnings are $2.14 per share.

To contact the reporter on this story: Damien Hoffman at staff.writers@wallstcheatsheet.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Damien Hoffman at editors@wallstcheatsheet.com