Court keeps TW Cable claim in Texas

MSO sought to combine claims against Viacom

Time Warner Cable’s effort to combine two separate legal claims filed against Viacom was rejected by a Texas court Monday.

The MSO filed a motion last month seeking to add a claim that Viacom-owned cable channel CMT was in violation of its affiliate agreement to an ongoing dispute over a TW Cable iPad app that attempted to stream the conglom’s cable channels without authorization.

But Judge Carlos Cortez of the 44th State Civil District Court in Dallas denied the motion, though offered no explanation of the ruling.

Last week, Viacom filed its own motion to block TW Cable’s bid to pull the CMT claim out of the Texas court and combine it with the iPad battle currently playing out in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

TW Cable charged that the programming mix at CMT had moved so far away from its roots in country music to unrelated unscripted series that it was no longer the same channel it had struck a deal with Viacom to carry.

By putting the two claims together, the MSO was likely seeking the leverage to have the iPad dispute play out in its favor. But Viacom lawyers argued the two cases had nothing to do with each other and needed to remain separate.

TW Cable issued a statement following the ruling. “This procedural decision has no impact on the merits of the case, which we believe are strongly in our favor, and we look forward to proving that in court.”

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