Rival Claims Dish Network Plays Dirty
SAN DIEGO (CN) - Dish Network canceled TV services to Navy installations in San Diego to coerce the Navy to contract with it instead of a competitor, NWS Corp. claims in court.
Massachusetts-based NWS Corp. sued Dish Network in Federal Court.
NWS, a systems integrator, says in the lawsuit that it provides its clients with "privately owned broadband networks that are flexible, scalable, and customized to the property owners' requirements."
One NWS client is the U.S. Navy Commander, Navy Region Southwest, the Navy's installation management headquarters for the Southwestern United States.
NWS claims the Navy and Marine Corps contracted with it for basic TV services in and around San Diego. The Marine Corps are a branch of the Navy.
The contract requires that NWS provide services for a 90-day transition period after the contract expires.
NWS says it contracted with Dish Network in 2010, whereby "NWS agreed to procure, set up, and service certain institutional customers desiring television programming, and in exchange for monthly payments, Dish would provide the satellite television programming signal" for the Navy.
In May this year, the Navy sought to extend its contract with NWS for another year. NWS says it provided Dish Network with a letter from the Navy seeking a one-year extension, but Dish Network failed to give NWS an adequate response.
Worried that Dish Network might stop providing the NWS with the satellite television signal, NWS says it entered into an emergency master antenna television service contract with the Navy, in which "NWS agreed to provide the Navy and the Naval Installation with limited free local over the air programming through a master antenna television technical service."
Also in May, Dish Network notified NWS that it intended to end its services after July, and that "the Navy would have to contract directly with Dish" to continue to receive its programming, according to the complaint.
NWS claims that "Dish came to the conclusion that it could increase its profit margin at the Naval Installation by eliminating NWS from the equation, and contracting with the Navy directly."
Dish Network did not respond to a request for comment.
NWS claims it informed Dish Network that "the Navy could not arbitrarily select Dish as the new vendor, without first bidding the project out to other potential vendors. Dish was further advised that the procurement process would take the Navy between six and 12 months to complete."
But Dish Network ended its services at the Navy installation on Aug. 12 and failed to provide service through the 90-day transition period, the complaint states. Dish "hoped to manipulate and coerce the Navy into contracting with Dish directly by terminating the television programming signal at the Naval installation in this manner," NWS says.
NWS says entered into an agreement with 4Com on Sept. 4 to provide TV services to the Navy. Dish Network is tangentially involved in that, NWS says: 4Com transmits its programming through Dish's satellite network, for a monthly fee.
But on Sept. 9, Dish improperly shut down its services, leaving the Navy installation "without important television services used for Navy Morale, Wellness and Recreation programs (MWR Command), and real-time 24 hour news programs that provide the Navy with mission critical information about global events," according to the complaint.
NWS wants Dish Network ordered to reinstate TV programming to the naval installation, and damages for intentional interference with contract and tortious interference with business.
It is represented by Bradley Jewett of Los Angeles.