Lawsuit claims racial discrimination by satellite TV provider
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The owner of WISH-TV and WNDY will be allowed to call a damages expert in his racial discrimination lawsuit against DISH Network.
A federal judge in Indianapolis on Thursday rejected a DISH Network request to block the testimony of Dr. Mark Fratrik, senior vice president of BIA Services.
Circle City Broadcasting, the parent company of WISH-TV and MyINDY-TV 23 in Indianapolis, sued DISH in 2020, claiming that the satellite provider refused to offer fair compensation for the broadcast of the stations’ news and programming. .
DuJuan McCoy, owner, president and CEO of Circle City Broadcasting and one of the nation’s largest black TV station owners, told the court that DISH’s decision was racially motivated.
The lawsuit accuses DISH of “upholding decades of industry policies and practices that discriminate against minority-owned broadcasters by paying non-minority broadcasters a significant fee to rebroadcast their stations and channels while still doing so. ‘offering virtually no charge to the historically disadvantaged broadcaster and programmer for the same or better programming.
DISH Network has not broadcast any Circle City Broadcasting stations since October 2019.
Circle City Broadcasting planned to call Fratrik as a witness to establish pecuniary damages in the contract dispute.
The BIA Services website lists Fratrik as its chief economist responsible for economic forecasting in all segments of the local media.
A separate federal court decision in March allowed the Circle City trial to continue.
In that decision, Chief Justice Tanya Walton Pratt concluded that Circle City had presented “sufficient facts to, at a minimum, present a circumstantial case of intentional discrimination”.
Pratt also wrote that “the Court is persuaded by Circle City’s argument that a thorough comparison of these channels for the purpose of determining disparate treatment on the basis of race would require a factual investigation.”
The case is expected to be tried in May 2022.