(Updated) NDTV Challenges WPP, Tries To Revive Lawsuit In NY

Gavel-AAA(Editor's Note: The original version of this story, including the headline failed to note that NDTV's appeal addresses only allegations related to Nielsen, not WPP. A separate clarification has been published.)

This New Delhi Television is trying to revive its $1 billion lawsuit against Nielsen, WPP and a number of their subsidiaries for breach of contract and negligence in connection with a TV ratings service that the companies operate in India.

The Indian TV network has appealed a decision by New York State Supreme Court Judge Peter Sherwood, who dismissed the suit in early March.

When he tossed the case, Sherwood ruled that NDTV’s complaint should be filed in India, where the Nielsen-WPP joint venture ratings service, TAM, is based.

In court papers filed last week, NDTV said that Sherwood erred in ruling that New York was not a proper venue for the suit because he “failed to accept as true the allegations” that New York-based Nielsen owns and controls the “Nielsen process,” upon which its ratings services around the world operate.

Sherwood also incorrectly disregarded the fact that it was a New York-led Nielsen team that investigated the network’s allegations.

“The court wrongly concluded that NDTV’s claims address TAM’s misconduct in India, when in fact NDTV’s claims are based solely on the conduct of New York-based Nielsen,” the network’s court filing asserted. The network also argued that India was not a proper venue because “the Indian courts likely lack jurisdiction over Nielsen,” because the ratings and research giant is based in New York.

“Contrary to the trial court’s rulings,” NDTV added, its negligence claims “properly pled that Nielsen breached a duty that it owed to NDTV and the breach resulted in a compensable injury.”

NDTV filed the suit last summer, alleging that the TAM ratings system was highly inaccurate and that over a period of years, it lost hundreds of millions in ad revenue as a result.

The network said it brought the system’s inadequacies to the attention of Nielsen and WPP, with officials at the companies allegedly acknowledging the problems and promising to fix them. But they didn’t follow through, NDTV alleged, forcing it to sue.

WPP and Nielsen successfully countered the claims, arguing that NDTV’s allegations were unfounded and that regardless, the proper venue for the suit was India, where the alleged illegalities occurred.

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