3 legal stories to watch

The usually quiet month of August begins this week with Monday’s trial of the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against Penguin Random House’s pending acquisition of rival Simon & Schuster.

We are also monitoring Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk’s lawsuit against Twitter (TWTR), which he filed Friday as part of his ongoing effort to ditch his $44 billion agreement to acquire the social networking site.

After more than a year’s delay, Boeing (BA) reportedly obtained clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration on its plan to repair and resume delivery of the 787 Dreamliner. Here’s more about the three legal stories we’re watching this week:

The trial begins for the dominance of publishing

Penguin Random House, the world’s largest book publisher, is set to begin a trial in Washington, D.C., on Monday to defend the Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit seeking to stop a $2.2 billion acquisition of rival Simon & Schuster.

The deal, reached in 2020, will cut the number of US publishers from five to four.

The Department of Justice claims the deal will allow Penguin Random House to control nearly half of the acquisition rights publishing market — leaving consumers with fewer options. The department also argues that the deal will reduce the compensation paid to authors for their work.

Legendary novelist Stephen King – author of books including “The Shining”, “Carrie” and “Misery” – is due to testify on behalf of the government.

Stephen King at a book signing on November 9, 2006 Photo by Richard Keith Wolfe/Avalon/Getty Images

Twitter v. Musk adds Musk v. Twitter

Musk responded on Twitter (TWTR) Friday with a counter-suit as part of his ongoing effort to avoid going ahead with his $44 billion deal to buy the company. The Tesla CEO (TSLA) filed the counterclaim in secret, hiding it from public view. The counter-suit could thwart the case’s already set timetable for trial in October, given that the time is generally set for the parties to share and review documents.

Last week, a Delaware court judge granted Twitter Chancery a summary trial over five days in October. The judge also granted Musk’s request to set the start date for October 17. Twitter is seeking a fast-paced experiment to avoid what it says are irreparable damage from ongoing business turmoil and stock market volatility.

Twitter argues in its lawsuit that Musk should be required to go ahead with the deal because his reasons for terminating it are outside the contract and are merely a cover for buyer’s remorse. On the other hand, Musk argues that he is entitled to walk away from the deal because Twitter presumably refuses to give him the data he wants on the number of fake accounts running on its platform.

Boeing 787 Dreamliner gets green light

Much of the regulatory delay that frustrated Boeing’s (BA) commercial aircraft business was lifted Friday when the Federal Aviation Authority approved its plans to repair and resume delivery of 787 Dreamliners, according to multiple reports. Bloomberg reported that the change would allow the company to begin realizing the nearly $10 billion in cash that has been held up due to halted deliveries.

The Federal Aviation Administration halted delivery of Boeing Dreamliners in May 2021 due to safety concerns related to fuselage construction, after Boeing voluntarily halted delivery of the aircraft in late 2020. On Friday, the agency reportedly granted initial clearance so that Boeing could begin making Suggested repairs, and resume deliveries as soon as August.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requirements to repair the Dreamliner have compounded Boeing’s current struggles to get its 737 Max jets back into the skies. Organizers around the world grounded the plane after two separate Model 8 accidents that killed all 346 passengers and crew on board.

Alexis Keenan is a legal reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow Alexis on Twitter Tweet embed.

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