WPP files motion with NY Supreme Court to dismiss NDTV case

By afaqs! news bureau , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | August 29, 2012
The New York Supreme Court has assigned Justice O Peter Sherwood to hear the case (No 652589-2012) which will come up for hearing on September 13.

WPP has filed a motion with the New York Supreme Court to dismiss the grievances NDTV had filed on July 26 on the alleged irregularities in TV ratings in India.



The New York Supreme Court has assigned Justice O Peter Sherwood to hear the case (No 652589-2012) which will come up for hearing on September 13.

The motion stated that the NDTV case is a "desperate attempt by the plaintiff, a television station in New Delhi, India, to drum up media coverage in India to divert attention from the real reasons its programmes have had low audience ratings and its financial performance has been abysmal for five years."

The motion claims that NDTV has crossed the globe and come to New York State Supreme Court to complain about an Indian company, TAM, and how it measures the ratings of television programmes in India. "New Delhi TV has filed its completely baseless and misdirected claims in a 193-page complaint, containing 654 paragraphs and 42 causes of action against 32 irrelevant parties, including the Moving Defendants," it says.

The motion notes that first, as a threshold issue, the complaint should be dismissed as to all Moving Defendants for insufficiency of service. Flouting even the most basic rules regarding service of process, NDTV simply left five identical copies of the complaint in a ripped shopping bag with a facilities employee at a building in New York in which none of the Moving Defendants conduct business, and then mailed another copy addressed to J Walter Thompson (not even a proper entity) to the same address. This sloppy attempt at service is completely insufficient and as a result, the entire complaint should be dismissed as against the Motion Defendants.

Additionally, WPP in its motion further states that NDTV's drafting of the complaint is as careless as its attempt at service. Not only does it improperly name several of the Moving Defendants, but even if the Moving Defendants had been properly named, the Court does not have jurisdiction over Kantar India, which is an Indian company with absolutely no presence in the United States, let alone in New York. Of course, it is not surprising that the companies that have anything to do with the allegations in the complaint have no presence in the United States, let alone New York, as this case is completely about actions allegedly taken or not taken in India by Indian companies having an alleged impact on an India television station.

"Thus, the fact that certain US Kantar companies, completely distinct from Kantar India, have offices in the state of New York does not render Kantar India subject to jurisdiction in New York," it says.

Beyond the basic sloppiness regarding service and drafting, WPP notes that what is most shocking about the Complaint is that a thorough read makes it perfectly clear that this case has absolutely nothing to do with New York. Hundreds of paragraphs demonstrate that the nexus of any potential claim (at best a breach of contract claim against an Indian party other than Moving Defendants) lies in India, not New York.

"There are dozens of Indian residents whose names appear in the Complaint that will be witnesses and many other witnesses in India that are not listed in the Complaint; key agreements that are at the core of the dispute that provide that all disputes are subject to the jurisdiction of Mumbai courts; and a multitude of transactions that all occurred in India, which are described in hundreds of the Complaint's 600 plus paragraphs. Moreover, in dozens of paragraphs of the Complaint, NDTV emphasizes that the alleged corruption at issue implicates well-known Indian politicians and Indian government officials, thus providing even more reason for a New York court to refrain from getting involved in this dispute. Accordingly, based upon considerations of justice, fairness and convenience, NDTV's claim is better adjudicated in India, and this Court should dismiss the complaint as against Moving Defendants," the motion states.

"Finally, the motion states that each and every one of the claims that NDTV asserts against the Moving Defendants fails to state a cause of action. Not only is it beyond dispute that NDTV cannot pierce the corporate veil of the company with whom it contracted in order to hold its shareholders liable, but the pleading on their faces are wholly insufficient to state a cause of action against any of the Moving Defendants," says WPP.

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