Last year, Below agreed to pay advertisers $23 million as part of a compensation plan following its discovery of the circulation overstatements, part of a string of similar circulation glitches at a number of big papers.
Advertisers affected by the overstatements were to receive cash payments equal to 10 percent of their total Sunday ad buys in the paper between Aug. 1, 2003 and July 31, 2004. The compensation plan also included provisions for pre-print and classified advertisers.
Following Belo's announcement of the plan, the publisher disclosed the class action suits, which alleged federal security laws were violated as a result of the circulation overstatements.
While the court said the plaintiffs could file an amended complaint, Belo Senior Vice President-Law & Government Guy Kerr stated, "If the plaintiffs' lawyers replead their complaints, we will continue our vigorous defense because we believe the lawsuits are without merit."