Congressional Quarterly Sued by FNS
Complaint also names former Cygnus Business Media co-CEOs as defendants.
Federal News Service, a Washington D.C.-based transcript service, filed a lawsuit against Congressional Quarterly and its parent companies—Florida’s Times Publishing Company and the Poynter Institute—alleging that the defendants, “through a series of anticompetitive acts and practices,” attempted to monopolize the transcript market and force FNS out of business.
The complaint was filed late last week in federal court in Washington, D.C.
Also named as defendants are Times Publishing subsidiary CQ Transcriptions, CQ president Robert Merry and vendor Morningside Partners. Morningside, a copy editing service provider, is co-owned by former Cygnus Business Media CEOs Carr Davis and Tony O’Brien. Both are also named as defendants in the lawsuit.
FNS’ complaint alleges that Congressional Quarterly and the other defendants “conspired to create and enacted a plan to destroy and/or weaken FNS” and pursued “a broad course of predatory conduct over a period of years,” FNS said in a statement. The complaint alleges that the defendants engaged in corporate espionage, corporate theft and anticompetitive hiring practices.
The complaint claims the defendants also attempted to acquire FNS to eliminate competition, FNS said.
“It’s a shame that the new owners who just acquired FNS out of bankruptcy proceedings are using this courtroom tactic rather than simply competing based on the merits of their transcript products,” Times Publishing vice president and corporate secretary Andrew P. Corty said in a statement. “Their allegations are baseless, and obviously we will defend CQ vigorously.”
Founded in 1985, FNS was sold this summer to the Investment Group after its owner, Cheryl A. Reagan, filed for bankruptcy protection.
“The claims made in the lawsuit filed by FNS are without merit,” Davis and O’Brien said in a statement e-mailed to FOLIO:. “Further, we believe that the claims are more reflective of the questionable business practices of FNS and the timing of a contemplated transaction involving CQ than anything else.”
It was reported last month that the Economist Group had acquired Congressional Quarterly, which has been on the block since January. When contacted by FOLIO:, an Economist Group spokesperson denied the report, calling it “speculation.”