Ever since its 2016 acquisition of Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications has become the provider to hundreds of thousands of cable subscribers in Los Angeles. Many of them were likely displeased at the end of January to find that they were unable to access the Univision channel. This is the direct result of a breach of contract lawsuit filed last year by the Spanish-language television network against Charter.
The basis of the controversy stems from an agreement that Univision had with Charter prior to the acquisition. The company has alleged that its terms were more favorable to providers than the ones that Time Warner had in place and that Charter had adopted. The dispute was unable to be resolved, and while the lawsuit is still pending, on Jan. 31 Univision pulled its signal in Los Angeles, New York City and other major markets.
It indicated that the reason for its doing so was a failure by Charter to negotiate the dispute in good faith. The next day, a Charter spokesperson stated that the company, which is the biggest cable provider in Los Angeles and other cities that have a large Spanish-speaking population, expects Univision to honor the existing arrangement. Fox News has also filed a lawsuit against Charter for similar reasons.
Contract disputes can be a public relations nightmare for the prominent companies that are involved in them. Accordingly, even when a lawsuit is prepared and filed, attorneys for the parties will often seek a negotiated settlement in order to cut down on the publicity and expense that protracted litigation can entail. However, when such an accord cannot be reached, then a courtroom battle may be necessary to resolve the issue.