The Cleveland Browns prematurely terminated its contract with Channel 19 for the televising of Browns games. Channel 19 is suing the Browns for breach of contract. According to a Plain Dealer article, "The contract reads that the deal may be terminated by either side for 'cause,' such as 'conduct by one party, its employees or representatives which substantially alters the aggrieved party's ability to benefit from this agreement.' "
In a letter terminating the contract, the Browns said the termination was because of "repeated instances where WOIO news staff stepped well outside any legitimate boundary of responsible journalism." Also, the letter "accused the station's reporters of 'sensationalized, overtly negative reporting on the organization and its players.' ". Recently, Channel 19 broadcasted 911 tapes of a Lerner family member reporting the drowning death of her child. The termination letter called this broadcast, "shocking and insensitive".
Channel 19 contends that the Browns do not have cause to break the contract and did not give the required 30 day notice.
Channel 19 Sues Browns in Contract Dispute by James F. McCarty, The Plain Dealer, July 26, 2006; see also Browns Opt to End Deal with Ch. 19 by Tony Grossi, The Plain Dealer, July 18, 2006. For the case docket, search for RAYCOM TV BROADCASTINGS INC. ETAL vs. CLEVELAND BROWNS FOOTBALL CO., LLC, Cuyahoga Count Common Pleas Case No. CV-06-597064 at the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas docket.