Pounds refutes Menard lawsuitWritten by Staff Reports | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Menard Inc. has filed a lawsuit against Toledo Free Press, claiming the weekly newspaper failed to inform the company of declining circulation or to adjust billing for advertising services.
The Eau Claire, Wisconsin-based company accused TFP of fraud, breach of contract and breach of covenant of good faith and fair dealing in a complaint filed April 20 with the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas.
TFP President and Publisher Tom Pounds said he refutes the charges, adding that as of press time he has yet to be officially served with the suit.
“We have been working with Menard’s on this issue and I’m disappointed it has come to a lawsuit,” Pounds said. “Their advertising agency was kept informed every step of the way. This issue is a misunderstanding.”
The complaint, assigned to Judge Myron Duhart, seeks compensatory damages of $21,597, punitive damages of more than $25,000, and “attorney fees, costs and other expenses incurred in bringing this action.”
“Since October of 2009, [TFP’s] circulation quantities have declined,” the complaint states. “During this time, [TFP] received monthly orders for circulating print advertisements. … The orders prompted [TFP] to make any necessary changes to the dates or circulation amount and verify the order. [TFP] routinely verified the orders without changing the circulation amount. … [Menard] continued to send [TFP] the same quantity of print advertisements while under the impression that [TFP’s] circulation quantities had remained the same.”
The complaint alleges TFP “intended to mislead” Menard because it “was paid by the number of print advertisements it circulated.” The suit also claims that beginning in January 2012, TFP began delivering Menard advertising fliers to “ZIP codes other than those designated by” Menard. As a result, the company alleges overpayment for advertising.
“Because we are a free, ad-driven publication, our advertisers are integral to our success and their trust in us is vital,” Pounds said. “I can’t comment further on an open lawsuit, but I don’t want media reports to misrepresent what’s happening here.”
Pounds also said he stands by TFP’s publication and distribution of Lucas County’s delinquent land tax notices, which has been questioned in recent media reports. The six-figure bid was awarded to TFP by the county in 2013 and 2014.
“The delinquent land tax list has nothing to do with this lawsuit. It’s apples and oranges,” Pounds said. “The auditor’s office and prosecutor’s office is welcome to investigate. Our circulation, expanded for those two weeks to meet the auditor’s stipulations for publication, is well-documented with the county and verified by an independent audit. There’s no question we delivered exactly what we promised Menard’s and exactly what we promised the Lucas County Auditor’s Office.”