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Distribution Issues

Hirschauer v. The Chicago Sun-Times, 192 Ill.App.3d 193, 548 N.E.2d 630, 139 Ill. Dec. 245 (1st Dist. 1989).The Firm represented the Chicago Sun-Times in reshaping its distribution network. When the newspaper began terminating nonperforming newspaper distributors, a coalition of distributors argued that, according to prior judicial decisions, the Sun-Times had to buy back the distribution rights and they sought injunctions against the terminations in state and federal court. In the ensuing litigation, one distributor succeeded in temporarily restraining his termination. The Sun-Times obtained the dissolution of the resulting injunction, but the trial court subsequently refused to award damages to the Sun-Times for the wrongfully entered restraining order. The newspaper appealed. In finding that the order against the Sun-Times was wrongful, the appellate court went on to hold, contrary to the prior decisions, that a newspaper distributor's relationship of indefinite duration was terminable “at will” by the newspaper. The appeal ultimately cleared the way for the Sun-Times to reshape its entire newspaper distribution network.