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Friday, March 1, 2024 | Back issues
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Judge Stays Lawsuit |Over Energy Newsletters

(CN) - An energy brokerage firm won its bid to have a copyright lawsuit stayed in Manhattan Federal Court, pending the outcome of parallel actions in Houston and the United Kingdom.

Argus Media sued Tradition Financial Services and TFS Energy, claiming the firms illegally published two of its newsletters.

The U.K.-based Argus publishes and sells business intelligence reports relating to the energy, transport and emissions markets. It said Tradition employees received the Coal Daily and Air Daily publications by email, then "routinely made and distributed unauthorized copies" to other employees and third parties.

U.S. District Judge Harold Baer Jr. decided to let Argus' arbitration claim in Houston play out before rendering a decision, as the companies had agreed.

"Although both parties have devoted many pages to the merits of whether the Air Daily claim is arbitrable - and in particular, whether post-termination claims are arbitrable - this court cannot usurp the authority the parties have granted the arbitrator to determine that question," he wrote. "Accordingly, the Air Daily claim must be stayed pending the outcome of the arbitration."

Argus had also sued Tradition UK in the High Court of Justice in the United Kingdom, alleging infringement under U.K. law.

Judge Baer denied Traditions' bid to dismiss the U.S. copyright law claims, agreeing with Argus' position that the United Kingdom is not an "adequate alternative forum."

"Neither of the defendants has made any representations - either in briefs or at oral argument - that they will submit to jurisdiction in the U.K.; rather, they aver only that Tradition UK is amenable to process there," Baer wrote. "Absent any such consent, the U.K. would not be an adequate forum for the defendants in this action and dismissal should be denied on that basis alone.

"Regardless of the wisdom of the English court's determination, it seems clear that Argus cannot litigate its Copyright Act claims in England."

The judge suspended the case for one year or until the conclusion of the Texas arbitration and the U.K. lawsuit.

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