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Seattle P-I Staggers

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One of the most left-wing big city newspapers in existence, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, may be on the verge of closing down: P-I Dealt Blow in Seattle Times Legal Spat. (Hat tip: Lazarus.)

OLYMPIA, Wash. - The state Supreme Court on Thursday dealt The Seattle Times a major victory in its efforts to end a joint operating agreement with the Seattle Post-Intelligencer — a ruling that could lead to the P-I’s closure, though more legal battles remain.

“We recognize this day is not a happy day in the ongoing story of Seattle as a two-newspaper town,” the high court ruled in its unanimous decision, written by Justice Tom Chambers. “We genuinely hope that both the Seattle Times and the Seattle P-I will continue to serve our communities and prosper.”

The Times has been trying to get out of the agreement with the P-I’s parent company, The Hearst Corp., since April 2003, saying the agreement is no longer profitable because of changes in the market. The Times seeks to invoke a clause in the contract that allows either paper to end the agreement if it suffers three consecutive years of losses.

Hearst argued that the Times shouldn’t be allowed to count losses caused by extraordinary events, such as the 49-day strike against both dailies in late 2000. The Times argues that under the language in the contract, no such exception exists, and the court agreed.

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